The Salvation Army has seen a noticeable increase in the number of parents requesting assistance to send their children back to school.
The Army’s Divisional Business Manager and Public Relations Officer Sherma Evelyn said in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in a rise in Barbados’ unemployment rate, the Army has seen an influx of persons requesting donations of textbooks, school uniforms, and even technological devices, for their children to return to school on Monday.
However, Evelyn said based on a donation of BDS$10 000 worth of vouchers from Abed’s and CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, to be used to purchase uniforms and stationery, only 100 families will receive assistance this year, which she noted was the same number that did last year.
While speaking to the media this morning during handing over of the vouchers, at the Army’s Reed Street, Bridgetown, headquarters, the Divisional Business Manager said this year the Army has seen new faces coming seeking assistance with school items.
“We have an increase but unfortunately we cannot meet that increase. So we are still catering like last year to the 100 persons. We would have had up to about 25 more families and some of those families have like four and five children so if you do the mathematics that is a good number of persons still. So as you come, especially if you are on our list already, we put you back on. So basically we cannot add anybody else who wasn’t on the list last year,” Evelyn said.
“People that we don’t normally see are coming. We also have persons from secondary schools and tertiary institutions asking us for some assistance, not really for uniforms, but for writing materials and other things that they would need,” she added.
Meanwhile, Salvation Army Board Chairman, Paul Bernstein, stressed that from the time the COVID-19 pandemic hit Barbados, the Army has been under tremendous strain helping Barbadians. He said the Army has managed to survive the difficult times, and continued to feed 180 vulnerable persons five days per week.
Bernstein appealed to the business community and general public for support in monetary and tangible donations.
“I have made an appeal to the people of Barbados for clothing. We are in dire need of clothing, surprisingly. We need shirts, pants, socks, anything that could be used again we will appreciate it,” Bernstein said.
Managing Director of Abed’s Eddy Abed said while it has been a difficult year for businesses, Abed’s was willing and ready to make the donation to the Army’s back to school programme, to assist in meeting the needs of underprivileged children.
“Everybody knows what it’s been like with the pandemic this year. It has absolutely hurt our business but we are in a position where we must assist and we have decided to come on board with the Salvation Army and do what we can this year.
“As I say, this is not so much about the sponsors, this is definitely about the good work that the Salvation Army is doing. We are just pleased to be a part of it,” Abed said. (AH)