Not all residents of the Cayman Islands can look forward to decadent holiday meals filled with their favourite dishes; some of the less fortunate just want not to be hungry.
The Cayman Food Bank hopes it can help prevent hunger and malnutrition in the Cayman Islands at Christmastime and throughout the year. Operations Manager Phillip Hyre says the Food Bank has been providing meals for people in need since it opened its doors one year ago this month.
“We started giving to individuals because we found that there aren’t enough food pantries,” says Hyre.
To address the issue, the Cayman Food Bank worked alongside various organisations to open five additional food pantries on Grand Cayman including two in East End, two in George Town and one in West Bay.
The Cayman Food Bank works with several church-based pantries and meal-delivery organisations such as Meals on Wheels to provide healthy and nutritious meals to those who are
Finding the people who really need Cayman Food Bank’s help has been a challenge because pride sometimes gets in the way, Hyre says.
“People don’t necessarily let you know, but it’s not something to be embarrassed about,” he says. “We use our discretion and initiative and try to come to an understanding of someone’s circumstances. As a community we should try to help each other as much as possible as we all depend on each other. No one should be turned away if they need help.”
Naomi Law, a project management specialist for Dart Development, volunteers her time to the Cayman Food Bank, organising various events and fundraisers.
“Every action taken to strike hunger is helpful,” she says. “Whether that action means donating food, money or even time to volunteer, it is all appreciated.” Law says hunger can impact a community in many ways.
“A hungry adult may not be able to hold down a job and may commit crimes to sustain themselves, which affects a whole community,” she says. “A hungry child can’t grow, focus and learn, and they really are our future. No child should ever go hungry.”
In addition to helping alleviate hunger, Law says the Food Bank also reduces food wastage on Grand Cayman.
Dart supports the Cayman Food Bank in various ways, including making it the beneficiary of this year’s “Christmas Give” charity campaign in Camana Bay.
In addition to accepting canned and non-perishable dry-good foods and supermarket gift cards at the Camana Bay Visitor Centre on behalf of the Food Bank, there are four different initiatives in which people can participate in Camana Bay to provide the Food Bank with needed funding.
Throughout the holiday season, people will be able to put spare change in the cascading coin collector at Camana Bay Cinema. People can also purchase limited-edition Caymankind Christmas cards at the Visitor Centre, with all profits going to the Food Bank.
On Friday, Dec. 7, Camana Bay office tenants are encouraged to participate in a “Festive Dress Down Day” and then make a donation to the Food Bank.
Finally, on Sunday morning, Dec. 16, Camana Bay will host the annual “Santa Run” through the Town Centre, with the entry proceeds being donated to the Food Bank.
However, it doesn’t have to be Christmastime to donate to the Cayman Food Bank. The Food Bank’s website at caymanfoodbank.com details various ways people can donate food, money or their time. Law says the Food Bank is open to suggestions for corporate food or fund drives and they are now actively seeking community partners for funding.
“All funds and food donated to us really do help us to make a huge impact in the community.”