(Pictured from left) Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Anton Best and??HIV Food Bank Manager, Stacia Whittaker receive proceeds of the Love, Poetry and Song concert from GIS Marketing Officer, Ronnie Yearwood and GIS Acting CIO, Sharon Lynch. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Some of Barbados’ best performers hit the stage at Ilaro Court last February for the Love Poetry and Song concert and, thanks to their support and contributions from patrons, the media and corporate Barbados, more than $37,000 and 18 barrels of food were collected for the HIV Food Bank.

The event, which was coordinated by the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS), was designed to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and to gather funds for the HIV Food Bank, which assists persons and families affected by the disease.??

Speaking recently at a thank you reception for the event’s sponsors and contributors, Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Anton Best, thanked them for the "magnificent donation which will definitely help to improve the lives of persons with HIV who are in need of such assistance that we provide in the Ministry of Health.?? We have had a food bank programme in place for quite a few years; we definitely cannot be successful without support such as this."

Dr. Best said that he was "…pleasantly surprised by the public reception for the event, Love Poetry and Song.?? I really want to compliment the organisers as well as the artistes who made it such a success."

Describing the concert as an "ambitious and challenging project", BGIS Acting Chief Information Officer, Sharon Lynch, expressed her gratitude to the 5,000 patrons who attended the event and the sponsors, whose generosity made Love, Poetry and Song possible.

"Staging this event took us way out of our comfort zone.?? Along the way we learnt a lot including how very expensive it is to stage a large outdoor event.?? We could not have done it without the support of many partners and sponsors drawn from the private and public sectors, and that includes the media houses," she said.

Highlighting the valuable participation offered by public sector partners, including the Ministries of Tourism and Social Care and the HIV/AIDS Commission, Ms. Lynch also offered special thanks to platinum sponsor DB Productions, gold sponsor Elegant Hotels, and bronze sponsor Going Places Travel, who facilitated the participation of overseas-based headliner, Hal Linton.

Addressing the increased awareness brought about by the event, the Acting CIO noted that "more and more persons have been publicly donating to the bank, since we started our intense publicity. I note and commend one of our media partners who now has a campaign of their own to collect items on behalf of the food bank. So, I believe our message has reached many. I urge members of the public to continue supporting the HIV/AIDS Food Bank. Remember that there are some families who rely on the Bank for their weekly sustenance," she said, adding that the BGIS would continue its efforts to enlighten the public about and address the stigma related to HIV and AIDS.

Love, Poetry and Song was staged on February 16 and featured spoken word and vocal artistes, including Biggie Irie, Blake Broomes, Adrian Green, Marisa Lindsay and the Ladies of Honey Jam Barbados.


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