Some JMD$5 million worth of food supplies have been donated by local manufacturing giants SEPROD Group to the Ministry of Labour and Social Services (MLSS) on Monday, May 4.
The packages, presented by Group CEO Richard Pandohie to Permanent Secretary Colette Roberts Risden, at the ministry’s warehouse on Marcus Garvey Drive, included cow’s and condensed milk, flour, cooking oil, sugar, crackers, porridge, cheese, pasta, sardines and snacks.
In a statement, SEPROD noted that the donation will be used in Jamaica’s ongoing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response programme to mitigate against the fallout from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
According to SEPROD, all donated items will be re-packaged into “balanced diet” bundles before nationwide distribution to persons deemed food poor, with the immediate areas of focus being those in quarantine in St. Catherine, senior citizens and the disabled.
“The uptick of COVID-19 cases and the increasingly stringent measures that are being put in place to flatten the curve, bring into focus the ever-present plight of the needy in Jamaica, especially in areas of quarantine,” the group noted in its statement.
Staff at the Ministry of Labour and Social Services distributes care packages weekly to needy families in quarantine and fortnightly to others, as part of its mandate to ensure that the vulnerable in our society are adequately equipped with basic necessities especially during these uncertain times. Packages are delivered house to house using the over 600 staff and volunteers from the ministry’s thirteen parish offices, as well as from Food for the Poor, Jamaica Red Cross, Salvation Army, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and other community- and faith-based organisations.
PS Risden thanked SEPROD for their generous and much needed injection into the country’s disaster supply bank especially now when the need is expanding rapidly, and invited other corporate citizens to utilize the services of the ministry to ensure that the distribution of supplies reaches those in dire need in communities throughout Jamaica.
In handing over the food supplies SEPROD CEO, Richard Pandohie said, “No one can predict how long this crisis will last and we need to take a structured approach to ensuring that the most vulnerable among us are taken care of, this is the only way to achieve sustainability.”
The CEO also announced that moving forward the bulk of his company donations will be channelled through the ministry. SEPROD is asking that all requests for donations be made to the SEPROD Foundation via its website at www.seprod.com.
Since the start of March when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were first felt in Jamaica, the SEPROD Group has contributed in the region of $14M to social relief, including providing ventilators to the nation’s hospitals, a grant to the Pan American Health Organisation and several food donations including a recent delivery of milk and sardines to the Department of the Correctional Services.