(St. Lucia News Online) — Former government minister Dr. Jimmy Fletcher, along with Dr. Stephen King, Dr. Jackie Bird, Betty Jean were among the many volunteers who collaborated with the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) and other organisations to make the first phase of the National Meals Programme a reported success.
The programme, 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, kicked off on Easter Sunday, April 12.
According to reports, over 3,000 meals were delivered across the island through the efforts of a large number of hotels, catering services, government and non-governmental organisations, individual volunteers and service organisations.
Dr. Fletcher explained on Facebook how he got involved in the initiative:
Two Thursdays ago I had a WhatsApp chat with Karolin Troubetzkoy (President of the SLHTA) about the social crisis being caused by COVID-19 and I asked her whether the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association could assist with providing some relief to the inner-city communities in Castries. Karolin promised to have Noorani Azeez call me to discuss how the SLHTA could assist. As promised, shortly after I got a call from SLHTA CEO Noorani Azeez and we discussed ways in which the SLHTA could support the efforts of Dr. Stephen King, Dr. Jackie Bird and their RISE-Safe Spaces movement, on whose behalf I had reached out.
On Saturday last week, Noorani called to tell me that he could supply us with 100 cooked meals. However, we had a problem — we needed disposable food containers to package the meals and the country was in 24-hour lockdown. I made one call, which led me to make another, and soon I was speaking to Kamlesh of Sale Mart, who opened his warehouse for me and donated disposable food containers, disposable forks and paper napkins. On Saturday and Sunday last week, with the assistance of Chef Eike, Trudy’s Exotic Cuisine and Bay Gardens Beach Resort, Rise-Safe Spaces, through the awesome work of Betty Jean and her team, distributed 100 cooked meals to vulnerable residents across our city on each day.
Today, again through the generous support of the SLHTA, Chef Eike and the Independent Processors Association, we were able to distribute 150 cooked meals to vulnerable residents in our city. I could think of no better way to spend a few hours on Easter Sunday playing a small part in our national COVID-19 response. We are as strong as the weakest and most vulnerable among us and those of us who are in a position to help should do so, in whatever manner possible.
Thank you to Dr Stephen King, Dr Jackie Bird, Betty Jean, Nadege, Kimberly and the other awesome members of Safe Spaces, Chef Eike and the Independent Processors Association, Kamlesh of Sale Mart, Noorani Azeez and Karolin Troubetzkoy for making this possible.
Together, we will bounce forward.