CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — A third tranche of COVID-19 relief food vouchers will be distributed to vulnerable families soon. According to Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, the funds are from financial contributions from the Cabinet Ministers in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA).
The premier said recently that the initiative had blossomed since it was launched in May. The Cabinet of Ministers had decided to make personal contributions totalling $13,500 each month, as part of their response to the economic distress Nevisians experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Premier said so far, almost 500 families have been assisted for May and June with the food vouchers valued at $150 each.
“The programme was launched two months ago to provide groceries to families that were in need; families that were vulnerable,” said Premier Brantley. “I’m very proud that in the first go around we were able to supply $150 worth of groceries to 162 families.
“The second go around we were able, through the contribution of many, to assist about 300 families, and now coming up in the month of July we will have the third go around,” he said.
Premier Brantley explained that in addition to the contribution by ministers, other persons had collectively donated thousands of dollars to assist those in need.
“The goal of the initiative is that no family in Nevis should go hungry during this difficult time,” said Premier Brantley. The vouchers can only be used to purchase food items.
“Thirteen thousand and five hundred dollars ballooned from the contributions of many, and we were able to make those vouchers available. I want to emphasize that the way that we’ve done it is to make a voucher available so that people can buy what they want, rather than for us to give people what we think they want.
“The only condition is that you can’t buy any alcohol, you can’t buy any cigarettes and it is necessary for you to use the voucher for food,” he said.
The premier acknowledged that many persons are still out of work with the virtual shut down of the Tourism Sector as a result of the pandemic. He said he could not say how many families would be assisted in the third round of distribution since he did not know how much money would be donated for the month of July.
“We don’t know yet how much money we’ll have. We start with $13,500, and we continue to encourage people who are minded to contribute to that very worthy cause,” Brantley explained.”
It is anticipated that the food vouchers would be distributed to families before the end of July.