National Food Distribution Task Force benefiting thousands of Bahamians and residents

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Volunteers assist with distribution at the Bahamas Red Cross southeast zone of National Food Distribution Task Force at Gospel Light Baptist Church.

Gospel Light Baptist Church in the South East zone is just one of the many supporting partners on the National Food Distribution Task Force (NFDTF). The faith-based organization is one of the Bahamas Red Cross distribution centres that serves parcels of corned beef, tuna, mackerel, flour rice and cooking oil to Bahamians and residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Thurman Johnson said the church is helping people who are in need and the response has been overwhelming.

Located on Cowpen Road and Gospel Light Way in Gerald Bartlett Sub-division, the centre distributes over 175-plus parcels each Friday to persons who have registered for assistance. “This is necessary because the Bible speaks not only about feeding people spiritually but also physically,” said Minister Johnson. “We also use this as an outreach. We try to give the folks who get a parcel a gospel tract, show them God’s love, salvation and the way they can get to heaven. That’s very important.”

Residents in car queue at Gospel Light Baptist Church for
distribution by National Food Distribution Task Force.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, in a National address, August 3, 2020, informed that the Task Force would continue to operate during the ongoing national lockdown (August 4-19).

The Task Force is delivering emergency food assistance of parcels and vouchers through a public/private partnership to vulnerable persons throughout The Bahamas. The Government is funding 85 percent of the costs for food distribution and its NGO partners are funding 15 percent through donations to their respective organizations.

In his contribution to the 2020/21 Budget Debate, Prime Minister Minnis referred to the feeding program as one of the largest and most “unprecedented” food programs in the history of The Bahamas. “It is a massive logistical program comprising the entire country.

It is also one of the largest ever public/private social care initiatives in the history of The Bahamas, utilizing a caring network of faith-based institutions and NGOs.”

– A volunteer delivers a parcel provided by the National Food
Distribution Task Force into a vehicle as the recipient looks on.

He said the Task Force was created by the Government and is built on existing models of success, leveraging existing expertise and widespread networks throughout the country. The food distribution and outreach are divided into zones throughout The Bahamas. Each Zone has a designated leader who works with supporting partners including civil society, non-governmental organizations and other
community feeding efforts. During the 2-week lockdown, distributions take place at various locations on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, depending on zones.

– A resident collects a box of goods at Independence Drive
Church of God.
(BIS photos/Patrick Hanna)

New Providence Zones:
Northeast sector: zone leader – Bahamas Feeding Network
Southeast sector: zone leader – Bahamas Red Cross
Nassau City Zone: zone leader – Lend a Hand Bahamas
West: zone leader – Hands for Hunger

Eleuthera:
Zone leader: One Eleuthera Foundation
Abaco and surrounding Cays:
Zone leader: Idea Relief

Grand Bahama:
A multi-sector committee provides leadership and coordination
Other Family Islands:
Zone leaders: Bahamas Feeding Network and the Bahamas Red Cross

Distribution in the Family Islands is coordinated with mail boat service. To access assistance residents are required to register at rapidbahamas.com. For more information and how to register for emergency food relief send email to nfd@rapidbahamas.com or visit the Facebook page at Feed Bahamas.

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