Hunger exists in Barbados.
As a child growing up, I came from a working class family. My parents had 4 of us and at times we struggled. I remember sometimes my mum would send me to ‘trust’ something from the shop. ‘Trust’ for those who may not know, meant the customer was requesting an advance of a product to be paid for at a later date. Back then, there was community, so even if you were poor, you could ask the neighbour for help. People looked out for each other.
Fast forward some 30 years later, modern Barbados has lost much of its community spirit. For certain there are still some close knit neighborhoods but based on my experiences and observations, we have become quite insular. As a Community Pastor, I know of households where there is a shortage of food in the house; where children go to bed hungry. What is different from back when I was a child is the lack of community support available to help those in need.
As our country continues to face increasing economic challenges, children will continue to be among the most vulnerable in terms of hunger. We have a school system which provides school meals at an extremely low cost which allows many children to have at least one hot meal per day. During the summer break, there are households that will struggle to put that one hot meal on the table.
It might be hard to imagine that there are still some persons who are unable to provide the basics like food for their children. But if one had to spend time in some of our communities one would see exactly what I am talking about. The Safe Harbour Community Church serving the Black Rock community and the Grazettes Community Church serving the Grazettes area, as the name suggests, has been working to assist some of the poorest families.
The latest initiative the Do Good Food Drive came out of an observation of children in our communities whose parents were struggling to make ends meet. With unemployment levels currently at 10.2%, this stat is not just a figure, but represents many whom we serve. Over the past few years, our economy has failed to grow. In 2017, the economy grew by 1% compared to a 1.8% growth in 2016. This has implications for households to find work and by extension affects their ability to feed their children.
There’s never been a more opportune time to Do Good in Barbados. I invite you to join me and support the Do Good Food Drive. It doesn’t matter how little you think you may have to give, every little bit counts.