Newsletter for February 2021
On a positive note

by Solana Gooding
The text below is copied from a facebook post that Solana made to her facebook followers last week. Since it's so well said, and bears repeating, we asked her if we could include it here. There is so much to do that it can be hard to know where to start. It's true that some things may seem small, but as she suggests, that's no reason not to do them. She delivered those boxes and asked others to help her deliver more. It's also true that every journey starts with the first step, and Solana, to her great credit, has taken it.
Although the last two months have been quite the roller coaster ride for usfrom the news of a possible volcanic eruption, spikes in covid cases, folks laid off of work after only just shortly returning to workthe ride just seems to continue downhill at full speed. Despite all the challenges we continue to face, helping hands came to the aid of a few families on the island, 14 families and counting to be exact.

A few of our long time visiting friends contacted me directly to help to distribute these food boxes, and I was more than happy to get the job done. Funds were delivered to the various business places and a list of items was allocated for each box. The relief food boxes were delivered to the homes of families: families with unemployed single mothers struggling to put food on the table; families with disabled brothers, sisters, and mothers, whose extended families they live with and care for them, and were currently unemployed and struggling as well.

"Things rough"

I have experienced all kinds of emotions on delivering these boxes to various homes, who said thank you a million times, and who expressed praises to God and God hears and answers prays, and then those whose homes when their children saw the contents inside the food boxes, eyes burst wild open, happy and excited for what's inside, as mothers had no food to give to them, this is no joke.

Although 14+ families may seem like a small number, and there are indeed more families in need. If anyone understands how business on Bequia operates on a seasonal basis, peak season being from Dec - to early April and a little longer if we are lucky that Easter falls in mid-April. With Covid affecting the island since March 2020 and no peak season in sight for 2021, "things rough," an expression often used when locals gather to talk among themselves to describe no work in sight. And where there is no work there is no money, so things real rough for a long time.

On behalf of the families on Bequia who have received these food boxes from our friends who love Bequia and its people, there are not enough ways to say thank you. Thank you for thinking of them. Thank you for not even being asked to do this. Delivered food to homes that will now be able to give warm meals for the next month or so, gosh just, THANK YOU!

Vouchers, boxes, and other programs
For other persons who have been contacting me about these food boxes, there is an actual more effective way that you can go about getting this done and help spread the word while you are at it. Check out, funds can be sent directly to them and food boxes or vouchers delivered to the homes of families here on Bequia. A more official way of going about such business.

I know you are going to tell me, "well I don't know these people, I know you." Well, in that case, I ask you to take or trust my word for it, I believe in this organization and you can donate to a cause through this initiative and its various funded programs. Indicate what you want your donation to be directed to, whether food vouchers/boxes or the other funded programs. Let your friends know and let your companies you work for know about it, pitch the idea to them, there are always businesses looking for means to contribute to countries in need.

I have volunteered for many years with this group (which was formerly known as the Bequia Mission) packing food hampers and seeing them delivered to homes. As you believe that I can get the job done, I believe this group also gets it done, over 100 food vouchers were delivered just between August - September last year and they are continuing to deliver.

Hoping that is enough said and a gentle reminder that we are all still in this together, mission brother keepers.

Let's do it!
Launching the Grenadines Initiative Emergency Food Security Program
Shown above are the contents of one of the food boxes that Solana delivered in January. Each box cost roughly $90CDN and helps feed a family for a month. In addition to the boxes, we've distributed food vouchers redeemable at stores serving communities across the island: Knight's Trading, Sugar Hill Mini Mart, Uncle Duff's Inc., and W+W Mini Mart. As such, the vouchers and food boxes provide benefit both to recipients and to local businesses and their staff. All is managed through the work of local volunteers.

We'd like the program to continue, offering as consistent relief as possible, ensuring that families can count on and rely upon it over the course of the coming year. A baseline we've set is to offer bi-monthly vouchers and regular deliveries of food. If able, we'll exceed that baseline, with larger disbursements, to more recipients, at shorter intervals.

To support Solana in this effort, click here. All proceeds will go directly to this program.

It's with sadness that we learned of the passing of Brad Holtz on January 28. Brad and Lynn spent many years visiting Bequia before building their home “At Last” overlooking Friendship Bay. Good friends of Solana Gooding, the family has asked to create a memorial fund to benefit the food security program. For more on Brad, and for information on how to contribute to the fund created in tribute, click here.
L to R: Linda Sagan Harrier and Principal Graham.
We were happy to pitch in at the Bequia Anglican Primary School last week, delivering a term supply of toner for the main office printer. It's hard to get, and given the need to learn at a distance, they've been going through a lot, producing work sheets so that students can stay engaged and learning in places where wifi isn't accessible. Thanks to Ronelle and Curtice Duncan for bringing this opportunity to our attention.
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