The Supermarket Association of T&T (SATT) has partnered with NGO Sewa International TT (Sewa TT) to provide a safe and efficient method for citizens to provide relief supplies to citizens of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) affected by the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano.
Both organisations revealed the plan during a press conference at Super Quality Supermarket in Trincity yesterday.
Sewa TT president Revan Teelucksingh explained that under the initiative citizens are being asked to contribute to his organisation’s plan to ship 2,000 sealed buckets containing supplies to St Vincent in the next two weeks.
Each bucket will contain non-perishable food items, which can feed a family of four for three days, and medical supplies. The items in the buckets have an estimated value of $500 as they are to be purchased from suppliers at their cost price.
Citizens can contribute, what they can, by making donations while paying their bill at supermarkets across T&T, which have signed up for the initiative.
Teelucksingh explained that using the initiative citizens can contribute to the specific needs of SVG citizens as the items in the packages were selected based on discussions with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), which is coordinating disaster relief.
According to Teelucksingh, the buckets along with large quantities of bottled water would be handed over to the Office of Disasters Preparedness and Management (ODPM), which would then transfer them to CDEMA for distribution.
He also noted that it would help protect citizens during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“You don’t have to drive to anybody and interact with them,” Teelucksingh said.
He explained that the process would also prevent infected persons from contaminating supplies and in turn infect volunteers, who are packing and transporting the buckets.
Teelucksingh also suggested that one-gallon bottles of water have been earmarked as opposed to single-serving cases to prevent plastic pollution during relief efforts.
Speaking at the event, president of SATT Rajiv Diptee explained that although his organisation’s members have been financially impacted by the pandemic, they still accepted that they had a duty to assist.
“It does not abscond us from having a responsibility to assist where a natural disaster has occurred,” Diptee said.
“T&T considers itself as a leader in the Caribbean community and we have to act as leaders. We have to take front,” Diptee said.
Diptee noted that many large supermarket chains and some independent ones across Trinidad had already signed up to facilitate donations, with more including those in Tobago, expected to join in the coming days.
Confirmed Supermarkets – All branches of:
Better Deal Supermarket
Best Deal Foods
M.S Food City Supermarket
Park View Supermarket
Persad’s D’ Food King
PC Stop N Shop Supermarket
S&S Persad Supermarket
Tru Valu Supermarket
West Bees Supermarket