Elderly receive Christmas care packages through ‘Zero Hunger Trust Fund’
December 23, 2016
Elderly receive Christmas care packages through ‘Zero Hunger Trust Fund’

Three hundred of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ over-80 population were on the receiving end of some Christmas cheer this week, thanks to the Zero Hunger Trust Fund and the Ministry of Economic Planning, Sustainable Development, Industry, Information and Labour.

The recipients, considered to be among the indigent and underprivileged of SVG’s population, were each given care packages containing $200 worth of basic food supplies and personal hygiene products.{{more}}

Speaking with SEARCHLIGHT last Wednesday, December 21, Minister of Economic Planning Camillo Gonsalves said that this particular initiative is not a one-off, but rather a quarterly programme that will cost some $60,000 each time.

He further explained that this particular programme is part of a series of initiatives that will target various indigent and underprivileged groups, identified through a survey done by his Ministry and the Statistics Office.

“We have identified that sub-group as an area that requires some of this targeted assistance and support of the Zero Hunger Trust Fund,” he noted.

According to Gonsalves, the national census shows that there are over 1,000 persons over the age of 80; with 300 – 400 of them considered “vulnerable”.

Deliveries of the 300 Christmas care packages began on Wednesday afternoon, with the main deliveries being carried out yesterday and today, December 23. Deliveries were made to both the Windward and Leeward sides of the island, as well as the Northern and Southern Grenadines.

The Minister was also quick to point out that publicizing this particular programme is not intended to get “any sort of mileage out of people’s individual circumstances”.

“The way in which we publicize is to publicize the initiative. We certainly don’t go about publicizing the names of the recipients… At various stages along the way, we have kept the public informed of what the Zero Hunger Trust Fund is doing.”

He added: “The publicity is important, not just to inform the public, but one of the benefits we receive from this type of publicity is that members of the private sector have donated to the Zero Hunger Trust Fund.”

In particular, he thanked the One St Vincent (OSV) Group and the St Vincent Container Corporation for “generously” donating to this Christmas care package programme.

Furthermore, Gonsalves pointed out that there are also similar initiatives which focus on Early Childhood Development, and training/job placement for young people, among others.

Established in March 2016, the Zero Hunger Trust Fund is financed mainly through the proceeds of a two per cent levy on telephone calls originating in SVG. Corporate partners and private citizens have also made contributions to the fund. (JSV)