The Eliza Doolittle Society, a registered charity since 2002, has evolved over the past three years to become a vibrant force in addressing hunger and food wastage in Bermuda.
In 2010, their focus shifted from addressing the needs of Bermuda’s homeless to “serving Bermuda’s hungry.” The Daily Bread program was created, and a full-time executive director, Margaret Ward, was hired in April 2010. The goal was to create a local program based on a successful, 25-year-old Canadian food-rescue and delivery program called Second Harvest.
Ward spent several days in Toronto with the staff at Second Harvest and a Canadian food bank, the Daily Bread. When she returned, she set about to meet with as many of the charities and persons involved in providing food to Bermuda’s hungry as possible.
Various local studies done in conjunction with other social agencies determined that dedicated feeding centers in key areas of the island outside the City of Hamilton should be established. Meetings with various ministerial associations provided the catalyst for training the first volunteers, and the feeding centers opened.
The first three centers started feeding the public in September 2010. They offered free hot meals to anyone who was hungry and in need. These feeding centers were First Church of God on Sound View Road in Sandys, Beulah Tabernacle, just off Scott’s Hill in Sandys, and Bright Temple on Spring Hill in Warwick. The Fairmont hotels provided these feeding centers with hot meals for the first month.
The Daily Bread program now collects fresh, frozen, cooked and nonperishable food from donors islandwide and distributes it to more than 10 established feeding centers. Food donors include hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, distributors, farmers and more. Each feeding center belongs to the agency, church or center operating it. These agencies provide food to hungry children, seniors, women seeking refuge from domestic abuse, the homeless, the disabled, psychiatric patients—anyone struggling to provide for themselves and their loved ones.
In 2012, the Daily Bread program collected an estimated 36,120 pounds of donated food, much of which would have been thrown away or taken to the dump previously. This donated food allowed 11 feeding centers to feed 67,800 hungry people.
It is the Eliza Doolittle Society’s hope that any person in Bermuda who is hungry or unsure of where their next meal is coming from will be able to get a hot, nutritious meal in a warm and welcoming environment, somewhere in their local community, on any day of the week.