An appeal for donations has been launched by Resilience Cayman, after the newly-formed initiative received over 6,000 requests for assistance in its first month of operation.
Over 5 and a half thousand alone were from laid-off workers seeking food support.
According to Resilience Cayman organiser Jan Gupta: “We have been absolutely inundated with requests for food assistance in the first month of operation and I speak for everyone, when I say the number of people that have contacted us has far surpassed our expectations.
In launching the funding appeal he said, “Resilience Cayman is 100% donor funded and is dependent on donations from the public to provide support to those in need. Importantly, every penny that we receive goes directly into the programs.”
The organisation which is a community initiative supported by the Chamber of Commerce and open to all residents, was formed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It connects a network of non-profit and social impact businesses with tools, funds and volunteers to meet community needs.
The initiative “is focused on a broad range of worker assistance programmes with its aim to create food security, strengthen the local economy and support the self-empowerment of Cayman society.”
According to Jan Gupta, “At the end of April, we had received 164 monetary donations which will allow us to start responding to this urgent need. But because of the huge demand that we have encountered, we are appealing to the rest of the Cayman community to donate if they can.
He added: “We are currently reviewing eligibility for each of these applicants and providing instructions for food voucher pick-up within the next two weeks. We really want to be able to offer these vouchers to as many people as possible and so if anyone has the ability to pledge a donation, no matter how small, it would make a huge difference to someone’s life.”
Resilience Cayman currently operates four programs; the Food Support Program, Financial Counselling, the Wellness Program and Farm Box, with a fifth to be added soon.
The Food Support Program is its most highly requested service. That provides a one-month $150 grocery store voucher, which can be renewed. There’s also a daily meal service, provided by partner restaurants. That’s open to all Cayman residents who are not receiving food support from elsewhere and have experienced employment disruption (either termination or suspension) in the last three months.
Resilience Cayman is also setting up a Financial Counselling service which is due to launch this week. It says that service is especially relevant for unemployed workers considering pension withdrawals under the scheme recxently announced by the government.
Will Pineau, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce explained: “We want to extend our gratitude to the businesses and individuals who have already pledged monetary support to those in need. The donations that they have made will ensure that those who are currently without a source of income and unable to access support from elsewhere, have access to food.”
On the appeal for more funding and more donors he states: “While it’s an amazing start, we need more donors in order to support the many thousands of people that need our help. Donation is fast, secure and easy via Resilience Cayman’s website.”
Alongside 5,511 registrations to date for food support, Resilience Cayman reports that it has also received over 600 registrations for two of its other programs. The financial counselling program has received 519 registrations and the farm box initiative has received 91. Both of these are due to be launched shortly.