More than 300 households in the British Virgin Islands have so far registered with the BVI Red Cross to gain assistance with food supplies during the curfew period.
This is according to Director of the BVI Red Cross Stacy Lloyd who told BVI News on Tuesday that the initiative, which is a joint venture with the Social Development Department and the Family Support Network, has been getting a great response from the public.
“We’ve registered, to date, 320 households and we have assisted 179 households,” Lloyd said.
The FSN Director further said the demand for assistance was so high that the Red Cross temporarily ran out of items. She, however, gave reassurance that enough stock has been replenished to continue the initiative throughout the course of the week.
“We were completely out of stuff today (Tuesday, April 14). We didn’t have anything to give out. So from 8 o’clock this morning until our delivery from RoadTown Wholesale, we had nothing. We had restocked and I’m thinking that we should be able to go until Friday,” she added.
Most vulnerable prioritized
Lloyd also explained the protocols that residents in need must follow in order to gain assistance, adding that a system is in place to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable persons to ensure they receive food items.
She said that persons will first have to call the BVI Red Cross hotline at 494-6349 to register with an authorized form of identification.
“Once they call and they register, we would cross-reference our list with Social Development and other agencies that are doing what we are doing to avoid persons abusing the system and to find out if these persons are really vulnerable and in need,” Lloyd stated.
“Our first priority is the elderly, persons who are sick with chronic illnesses and persons with children. So those persons are automatically on top of the list and then other persons who are unemployed or reduced incomes; those are the persons we consider after,” she added.
Essential items distributed
Among the items included in each package are basic and essential products such as flour, rice, beans, water and fruits and vegetables which, according to Lloyd, is to meet the minimum standard in a humanitarian response.
The Director said: “What we are trying to do is not supply persons with one week of groceries, but to assist them to get through the lockdown if they have run out of stuff. So our aim is to provide assistance and not to provide persons with an entire two weeks of shopping or a month worth of shopping.”
Items delivered by trained volunteers
Due to the imposed 24-hour curfew which runs until Sunday, April 19, the BVI Red Cross will deliver all items to households.
Lloyd explained that all involved volunteers have been properly trained to execute their duty using COVID-19 precautionary measures when out on delivery assignments.
Appeal to public to donate
Meanwhile, the BVI Red Cross is encouraging residents and businesses to donate funds either directly through the organisation, or through their account at the RoadTown Wholesale to assist with replenishing food items.
Interested persons or businesses are asked to email Dennis Versoza at email@example.com, with BVI Red Cross account code ‘BVIR001’.
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