(St. Lucia News Online) — The first phase of the National Meals Programme (NMP) started on Sunday, April 12, 2020 with over 3,000 meals being delivered to the less fortunate across Saint Lucia.
NMP is part of the government’s Social Stabilization Programme, launched in response to the negative social impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease on Saint Lucia.
This multi-faceted programme was presented to the nation by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet on Wednesday, April 8.
He said during the presentation that the NMP will eventually feed “5,000 underprivileged persons on a daily basis using produce from local farmers”.
The programme is being undertaken by the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), other private sector associations, and non-governmental and service organizations.
The SLHTA said: “This initiative required not only determination, generosity, and organizational skills but above all, it would not have been possible without the volunteers who stood ready to “DO THIS TOGETHER”. The SLHTA extends our gratitude to other private sector associations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Manufacturers Association and the Independent Processors Association who have been equal architects in contributing to the creation, administration and anticipated continuity of our National Meals Program (NMP). Please join us in saying thanks to all the organizations and volunteers who came together today to make it happen.”
One of the many volunteers, Shaleen Felicien, wrote on her Facebook page that she delivered almost 100 meals on Sunday to the “elderly, less fortunate and differently-abled” of the Dennery North Constituency.
“Thanks to the team for ensuring that this was done. Thanks to the Government of St. Lucia and the SLHTA for a great initiative,” she said while noting that she took “every precaution” in ensuring that she was safe.
“It was a long day but it was well worth it,” Felicien added.
The participating hotels, restaurants, and organizations include Sandals Grande St. Lucian, Landings St Lucia Resort, Coconut Bay Beach Resort, Ladera Resort, Bay Gardens Resorts, Windjammer Landing Beach Resort, Serenity Vacations, Rendezvous St. Lucia, June’s Catering Services, Pink Papaya Restaurant, Independent Processors Association, Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet, Fond Doux Plantation, Jacques Waterfront Dining in Rodney Bay, Marigot Bay Resort & Marina, Coco Palm Resorts, Ministry of Youth Development and Sports – Dennery South.
Bay Gardens Resorts said on Facebook that the company prepared and delivered 100 Easter Sunday meals to the community of Gros Islet, while Serenity Vacations prepared 100 fish bullion meals for distribution, stating on its Facebook page that “COVID-19 will only enliven our collective national spirit”.
The Windward Islands Packaging Company Ltd (WINERA) provided packaging material to transport the meals to the homes of the recipients, according to Events Company of St. Lucia Inc. which also contributed to this worthy cause.
“We congratulate NEMO on the successful implementation of this initiative and pledge our continued support as the lead coordinator and producer of major national events in Saint Lucia,” Events Saint Lucia said on its Facebook page.
Other leading government and quasi-government agencies involved in this effort include the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Empowerment, Youth Development, Sports and Local Government; Ministry of Tourism, Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Creative Industries; St. Lucia Marketing Board; St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture; St. Lucia Cadet Cooperation and the National Volunteers Association.