Fruits and vegetables vendor Tiki seen at her stall cutting watermelon slices in March 2020 (before any recorded cases in St.Kitts-Nevis) having done an interview with this media house about COVID-19 mindfulness and health tips. Image used for illustration purposes only. (Spokesman Snap)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Thursday 1st July 2021)- Discussions involving the Ministry of Social Services are currently taking place on the topic of providing healthier food options to recipients of food packages.

Permanent Secretary of that ministry, Janelle Lewis-Tafari, shared an insight during her presentation at the National Emergency Operation Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing held on Wednesday 30th June 2021.

According to her: “The Ministry of Social Services continues to coordinate efforts to provide relief to persons affected by the pandemic. As of June 29th, the number of persons who have benefitted to date include persons from 471 households. Of these households, 302 were in quarantine or isolation and 169 had heads who were either unemployed or who had reduced income.”

Lewis-Tafari said the ministry has recently met with representatives from NEMA [National Emergency Management Agency], agriculture and people empowerment to discuss “how we can provide healthier food options to recipients of the food packages and at the same time support our local farmers.”

She said the Ministry of Tourism has also discussed with her ministry how to include fruits from the Eco Park in the packages to persons.

The social services official said caring citizens and community groups continue to support our efforts with the most recent contribution being a donation from the Rotary Club of St.Kitts who donated on Monday 28th June a substantial amount of food items.

She said the St.Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board has also committed to providing 1250 food vouchers valued at $200 each to households who do not currently receive assistance from either the food voucher programme or the poverty alleviation programme.

It was also highlighted that the NEMA district committee have been mobilized to submit the names of households in their districts who can benefit from the vouchers.
Lewis-Tafari said persons from the Spanish speaking community are also welcomed, noting that there are members of staff who are fluent in Spanish.
To register for assistance, persons can call 662-7710, 662-6473, 662-5539 and 662-5993.