Pensioner Jeffrey George poses with Tobago Hindu Society president Pulwattie Beepath after receiving a food hamper from the Society.

Masjid al Tawbah director and administrator Kameal Ali has commended the Government on its assistance to faith-based organisations so that they can help people affected by COVID-19.

Ali told Tobago Today his body received money from the Government and had already helped 41 households.

“We received $100,000 from the Government and began distributing the funds by giving money and food hampers to 41 needy recipients so far. This includes both Muslims and non-Muslims,” Ali said.

He said he has been the head of the Muslim community for over 20 years and knows villagers well.

“That knowledge allowed us, as an organisation, to generate a list of persons who needed help. Other members recommended persons who needed help. Several people approached us too and we helped,” Ali said.

“We are so happy to get assistance so we can help other people. We commend the Government highly on how they have handled this COVID situation for the last couple of months…They did a very, very good job.”

He said organisations receiving the Government’s grant should do their part and distribute the funds with integrity and ensure the funds reach the needy people.

Tobago Hindu Society president Pulwattie Beepath also expressed gratitude for the grant to her body, saying it will go a long way towards them helping people who have been unable to feed their families during the COVID-19 lockdown measures.

“We are very grateful to the Government for this assistance as many people needed to be helped. We got $10,000 and we made 50 hampers and distributed them to our needy members,” Beepath told Tobago Today during the distribution exercise on Wednesday.

Asked about the criteria for selecting needy members and other people within the community, Beepath said the organisation asked members to select the individuals.

“As an organisation, we know who needs help so we shared with them. We asked our members to identify people they know, in need, in the community,” Beepath said.

On Monday, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the Office of the Prime Minister had approved $30 million for faith-based organisations to assist in supporting COVID-19 food distribution efforts. He also said the Ministry of Social Development had so far spent $98.1 million on relief to persons affected by the pandemic.