The number of people in Bermuda who do not have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food is growing and it is for this reason that HSBC and The Eliza DoLittle Society have joined forces once again for the Community Feeding Programme.
This is the third year in a row that HSBC has supported this initiative and since the programme’s inception in 2016, members of the bank’s staff have helped distribute over 16,000 meals and volunteered around 2,000 hours in support of this project.
“It think it is safe to assume that at least 10 per cent of our population are food insecure,” says Jennifer Mahoney, Executive Director of the Eliza DoLittle Society. “People associate hunger with homelessness but it’s not just the homeless who are hungry. Food insecurity is not just having access to acceptable quantities of food, but the quality of food. Your cupboard may be full, but it may be full of chips. The reason you purchased an item might be because that was all you could afford.”
Mahoney explains that at the food bank they touch almost every cross section of the community – employed, unemployed, single people, families and seniors. She said that about 35% are over the age of 65. The problem is also a growing one: “Food prices are astronomical,” she says. “The economy is not getting any better and the rate of inflation is increasing.” In 2018 alone their food bank provided 43,867 meals.
Explaining why HSBC wanted to help, Clesia Pachai, Community Investment Manager at HSBC Bermuda says: “The increased demand on The Eliza DoLittle Society from the public year on year is a clear indicator there is still much work to be done to address and eradicate food insecurities in Bermuda. Together, and through the Feeding Programme, HSBC colleagues have learned first-hand of the hardships our community continues to face on a daily basis and with the support of the Bank’s leadership and through teamwork, have been able to support and further connect with our community.”
Mahoney said she continued to be surprised and amazed each year by the efforts of the HSBC team and that their hard work was hugely appreciated by the Society’s clients: “When organisations such as HSBC are able to support us it makes a tremendous difference to the quality of food we are able to give them,” she says. “We are no longer reliant on donations – we can actually purchase the food that goes into their bags.
“The staff have exhibited their genuine desire to make a tangible difference outside of the structured programme by organising in-house fundraisers such as bake sales and grilled cheese days,” she explains. “They have brought additional ingredients to cook-offs to make the recipes extra special, decorated the hall for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day and sung Happy Birthday to clients on their special day. The Eliza DoLittle Society and our clients are extremely thankful for the support and partnership that they have provided and the positive impact they have and continue to have on our community.”
Around 500 HSBC staff members have been organised into fifty teams to volunteer between 9am – 12pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week between January and May 2019, helping to cook and serve hot meals from St. John’s Church Hall and The Anglican Cathedral respectively, and also to distribute grocery items from The Eliza DoLittle’s Food Bank.
Separately, breakfast is available to the community at the Cathedral of Most Holy Trinity on Mondays and Thursdays from 10-11am. For a list of the various feeding centres, contact The Eliza DoLittle Society office at 333-4483 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.