The Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) and the HIV/AIDS Food Bank of the Ministry of Health have joined forces to assist persons living with HIV and AIDS.

To this end, the BGIS is embarking on a food drive to encourage more Barbadians to donate items to the department and as such, will host a booth at this year’s AgroFest in Queen’s Park on Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28.

Patrons visiting the stall on Saturday and Sunday will have the opportunity to participate in a raffle, with several exciting prizes at stake. All proceeds will go to assist clients of the Food Bank.?? Several private sector businesses are also on board, assisting with the donation of prizes.

Visitors can also participate in a quiz, which will seek to educate persons about pertinent information regarding HIV and AIDS, the Food Bank, and the role of the BGIS.

Barbadians are also encouraged to bring nutritious, non-perishable food as well as toiletries to donate to the Bank as bins will be placed at the booth. Items that can be brought include canned foods, dried goods, liquid supplements, pastas, jams, jellies, health bars and nuts.

Fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, eggs, juices, cheese, milk and ground provisions can be given directly to the Food Bank. Persons are asked to contact the department at 467-9399 to set up a drop-off time.

Throughout the year, the Barbados Government Information Service provides support to the Food Bank. Staff members and other partners bring in plastics, metals, glass and cardboard which are recycled and the funds donated to the department on behalf of the Food Bank. In addition, the HIV and AIDS Committee collects monetary and food donations from the staff.

The Food Bank caters to clients referred by health care providers who may have social and economic challenges. These clients are also given information about how to get the most out of the food items given, in a safe and nutritious manner.

Donations of food stuff and personal hygiene products are usually made monthly, quarterly or bi-annually and enable the Food Bank to provide supplies needed for reducing the complications related to HIV.

Corporate Barbados is also encouraged to support the Food Bank by donating food, conducting a food drive or fund raiser, making corporate contributions, volunteering time or by joining the "Adopt-A-Shelf" Project.

For further information on the Food Bank, persons should contact the Community Nutrition Officer, Donna Barker, at 467-9399 or the BGIS at 426-2232 or 426-2242.??

Author: Andr?? Skeete

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