FOR the third time since the onset of the covid19 pandemic in Trinidad and Tobago, the Supermarket Association will provide free meals to the staff at the Caura and Couva hospitals.
The association had its first food drive for frontline workers in March 2020 and once more in September 2020. But as covid19 cases continue to rise and the parallel healthcare system is on the brink of being overwhelmed, it felt the need to step in again.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, the association praised frontline workers for having “bravely and silently trudged on.”
From Monday, 100 meals will be provided daily for three weeks in the first instance. Its continuation will depend on the number of sponsors willing to move forward or new ones who wish to collaborate.
Thus far, sponsors include Nu-iron Unlimited, Scotiabank, Pt Lisas Nitrogen Ltd, S&S Persad Supermarket, the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), Crazylegs Entertainment and Hello Green, among others.
Speaking with Newsday on Sunday, the association’s president Rajiv Diptee said last year, the feedback was “amazing,” and the workers showed gratitude for the imitative.
“We supplied meals to all the staff including doctors, nurses, janitors, fogging staff – everyone at both facilities – for a six-week period. Then, in September, we did it again for a four-week period. Now that we have a state of emergency and all restaurants are closed and we have way more cases and way more hospital occupancy, we really want to support them again.
“They are under a lot of stress. They’re under immense strain right now. People are dying, including medical frontliners. So we have come together to put together another food drive.”
He said it is simply part of the association’s social corporate responsibility.
In addition to the deliveries, he said, some supermarkets have implemented policies to allow frontline healthcare workers to skip the line once they show a valid work ID.
“We giving you that priority because we understand how difficult it is for our medical workers right now.”
He said he spoke with NCRHA CEO Davlin Thomas and “worked out the logistics” with caterers in preparation for Monday.
“Everything is approved and ready for tomorrow…It is very surreal, because we’re doing this in a curfew and we are doing this at the height of over 3,000 active cases (of covid19), so it’s a lot scarier this time than it was last year.
“The doctors and nurses really appreciate how much that meal means to them because they don’t always have time to cook or prepare meals. They are isolating in a lot of cases. And once we understood what was happening, we said, ‘Nah, we really have to jump on board and help them.’”
Any company or individual who wishes to assist with the food drive can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.