By Lindsey Turnbull
All across the islands the community is galvanising into action as necessary restrictions on movement and business take a hold and leave some without basic necessities. The West Bay Central Community Committee is one such team of people, along with their MLA, Capt. Eugene Ebanks, who are helping out the community by organising the donation of hot meals to the needy. Partnering with restaurants in the location, the community team have been able to provide up to 150 hot meals and soups each day, dropping them off door-to-door.
Junilee Brooks is Capt. Eugene’s personal assistant. As an active member of the West Bay community, Junilee could see the need for such a service early on in the lockdown process.
“I felt the need as people were calling me. I spoke to Capt. Ebanks and we set about organising hot lunches for people,” she said.
Junilee works with fellow Committee members Jeana Ebanks, Glenda Ebanks-Lee and Sophie Bryan, collecting meals each day from a slew of local restaurants.
“On Monday and Wednesday, we collect around 150 meals from Morgan’s. Out of those meals there are about 125 children’s meals, so we are able to work with the schools to get children fed,” she explained. “On Tuesday and Thursday, we get between fifty and sixty meals each day from Calypso Grill and on Friday we get about fifty from Agua. Pansy’s Kitchen provides us with meals on Wednesday as well, and a lady called Sharon Spencer gives us meals on a Friday. On Saturday we receive meals from the Ministry of Peace church (Pastors Mitch and Sarah Exctain). We would love to deliver meals on Sunday as well, but we are unable due to the hard lockdown.”
Walter Fajette, co-owner of Agua said they reached out to see if they could be of help.
“I’ve known Capt. Eugene since I came to the island. We were happy to jump in and help. Even though the restaurant sector is hurting the most at the moment we can still show that we have a heart,” he said.
At the time of this interview, Walter’s team were preparing fifty boxes containing a hot lunch of baked pasta, along with a quarter of a roast chicken with roast vegetables.
“It is a hearty meal that will fill people up,” he confirmed.
Calypso Grill established their Calypso Cares Programme at the beginning of April, designating three essential employees to cook a hearty soup to be donated to the feeding of West Bayers. Chefs Paul Furze, Rashitha Sanjaya Eeshwarawari and Chaminda Hewa Pathirana are all working hard to deliver fifty to sixty hot soups on their allocated days to the Committee for distribution among the local community.
Junilee said all the donors were doing a really important job for the community.
Jeana added: “We want to highlight these partners who provide these meals free of charge and eagerly offered their services. We truly appreciate their selfless work to assist the cause.”
In particular, the Committee have been able to help out watersport’s employees.
Jeana advised that they were placing a special emphasis on assisting these individuals, many of whom hailed from West Bay, who were heavily impacted by the downturn in the economy. Homeless people in West Bay are also being made a priority.
Even though they are managing to feed a good number of people, Junilee said there was still more need. “An example of that came to my attention just yesterday where I was told that two boys were in need as their parents were stuck in Miami. We managed to source some hot food for them and I took groceries round to them. There are still some people out there,” she informed.
In addition to free meals, the Committee is assisting the Sir John A Cumber Primary School with much needed electronic devices to keep students current with their schoolwork. In particular, they are looking for any donations people can make of tablets and laptops, to assist with students’ studies. Just twenty would be a big help, Junilee confirmed.
“We are also looking for gift cards from Foster’s which is our nearest store,” she said. “These would be extremely useful for women who are in need of personal hygiene items and mothers in need of items for babies.”
While restaurants say they are happy to help out, they need donations to ensure they can continue this free service to the community, even if it is just for them to break even. If you are able to assist with donations for any of the above-mentioned causes, please contact Junilee Brooks on 925-2417 or Jeana Ebanks on 924-8255.
The Government has sought feedback on the Digital Identity bill which is to be debated in parliament. Do you support the introduction of this Bill?