Trustee of the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, Phillipa Challis, announced yesterday that the Trust will provide 1.5 million dollars in grocery vouchers over the next six weeks to help families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (PMO)

The Sandy Lane Charitable Trust (SLCT) will be providing $1.5 million in grocery vouchers, over the next six weeks, to help some families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This disclosure came yesterday from Board Trustee with the SLCT, Phillipa Challis, as she handed over the vouchers to acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw, during a presentation at Ilaro Court.  

She said the SLCT felt it necessary to offer assistance now since the virus had caused the country to close its borders and businesses, leaving many families without food on their tables.

During the brief ceremony Mrs. Challis said: “In order to support the nation through this critical time, we have established the SLCT Feed a Family Programme. 1.5 million dollars’ worth of supermarket food vouchers are to be issued. These will be distributed in the next six weeks, through the 30 constituency offices, to those families in most need, with a potential $1.5 million top up if needed, that would bring the total to $3 million in three months.

“The Trust does not wish to be responsible for who gets the extra support; that would be left up to the Members of Parliament in each constituency. We have to believe that they will be in touch with and have a better handle on those people who are in greatest need, and not just those who shout loudest. The only restriction that we, as a children’s charity, is asking is that there be at least one child under the age of 18 resident in each household.”

The vouchers will be disbursed in three bi-weekly installments, with the first commencing as early as next week.  The groceries, which will not include alcohol and tobacco, may be purchased at eight selected supermarket chains.

Mrs. Challis said this was the time for people to help each other, especially since some families were struggling to buy basic food items.

Board Trustee with the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, Phillipa Challis, speaking at yesterday’s voucher handover ceremony at Ilaro Court while acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw, looks on. (Prime Minister’s Office)

She appealed to individuals and organizations to continue supporting the other community initiatives, which had been set up.

Acting Prime Minister Bradshaw thanked SLCT for the donation, saying it would allow Government to get much needed resources to those requiring them at this time.

“Thank you for the large gesture to help the Government of Barbados go the extra mile to help persons most in need.  This donation … is particularly important to … the people who will be the recipients of the vouchers. I know it will go a long way to add to the support that we have obviously been giving as a Government to those persons who are most vulnerable.

“…Every little bit helps to top up what persons have been losing as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she stated.

In the last 15 years, the SLCT has raised about $60 million to help under privileged children in Barbados in areas such as educational, medical or community-based initiatives.

The SLCT has also provided financial assistance to other smaller charities for COVID-19 relief projects, and continues to support the work of its long-standing philanthropic partners to respond to the crisis through various programmes.

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