Nearly 10 years and more than one million meals after it opened in a cottage loaned by a supporting family in April 2013, the Bahamas Feeding Network celebrated moving into a permanent home today in Fox Hill, Nassau.
“We are literally steps away from where this all began with volunteers cooking hot meals first for the community of Fox Hill and later for a dozen churches to share with their congregations,” said Executive Director Lester Ferguson.
“As the number of organizations and churches which came to collect food grew, so did the camaraderie. Although conditions were crowded, everyone pitched in. The little cottage that had been given to us to use by the Davis Family, just seemed to expand till it was bursting at the seams with grills outside and volunteers forming human assembly lines.”
Before the pandemic, Ferguson said, volunteers were preparing and serving 5,000 meals on Sundays and 2,000 on Thursdays. COVID restrictions shut down the kitchen and BFN switched to providing food parcels, moving from location to location as it assisted in National Food Security Task Force efforts.
“Now, we are back within walking distance of where it all began and after more than one million meals served or provided for, the Bahamas Feeding Network at last has a fixed home of our own from which we can continue to ease the pain of hunger for so many in need,” said Ferguson.
According to BFN Director Shayne Davis, the new home of the fight against hunger will increase efficiency of operations and enable the Feeding Network to increase its output.
“We’ve seen over those nine years an almost exponential growth and demand for this service. We started just two doors north of here and we’re so very pleased that now we have a slightly larger facility where we can consolidate everyone under one roof and that allows us to hopefully be a little more efficient in what we do. When the Feeding Network was created it was created with two principle purposes: firstly, to be laser focus on the delivery of food and nutrition to those people who were desperately in need of it and secondly, to consolidate the effort of fundraising and to get resources into the hands of the organizations that are actually in the forefront in one way or the other, either in terms of direct financial assistance or through the delivery of supplies to them so that they can expand their reach.”
Ms. Ann McGregor, a recipient of food parcels from the Bahamas Feeding Network, shared what it meant to receive such assistance: “To some it may just be a program, but for persons like myself and others out there that do not have help, this is help, hope, love and appreciation. You’ll come here as a stranger but with the love and support that you receive, you leave feeling like a friend. Thank you and congratulations to the entire team, especially to the hardworking and dedicated workers. We just stand on the line but we don’t know the hard work that goes behind it. On behalf of myself and other persons who cannot speak for themselves, we thank you and all the persons that donate and we want you to continue to donate because there are a lot of persons out there hurting. Every little bit counts, no matter how small it may be.”
The occasion was also used to thank a number of long-time partners for their donation of in-kind services. Plaques were presented to Bahamas Waste, Cay Focus Photography, Diane Phillips & Associates, The Davis Family and Bahamas Local.
“I want to publicly thank all of the volunteers and partners that we have had in this journey that have assisted us in being able to deliver the services that we offer,” Davis said. “Each one of you has played a critical role in helping this organization grow.”
Others present for the ceremony included representatives from Caribbean Bottling Ltd., Sysco Bahamas Food Services, Milo Butler & Sons, Jamaica Bahamas Imports, Rubie’s Kitchen, The Salvation Army, Hands of Hope Ministries and Kingdom Outreach Ministries.
The new facility is located a few doors south of the Fox Hill Police Station on Fox Hill Road in the heart of the historic district.
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