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Juanito Soogrim and Drucilla Jacob

“Every man for himself,” is one adage Juanito Soogrim, 39 and Drucilla Jacob 28, does not incorporate into their system of beliefs. The couple, though themselves are currently unemployed, have engaged in a most selfless act, adopting a Couva family of seven whose lives have been completely upheaved by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This family would be hungry for several days, they have nothing,” the couple tells Guardian Media.

The pair, who supplies all basic needs for the family while still keeping themselves afloat without a salary, said they are doing it all on their personal savings.

“We don’t have an income at this time but we believe in blessing other people. We are doing this because it gives us a sense of contentment; it is really hard to see children going for days without something to eat. We believe in blessing others in whatever way you can,” they explain.

Soogrim is not employed at the moment due to a medical condition while Jacob, an administrative executive at the privately run Pillars of Excellence in Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas is out of work due to the closure of school—an early measure put in place by the Government to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Jacob explains before adopting the family full time, she became familiar with and involved in the assisting of lesser fortunate families at Pillars of Excellence, through its Adopt a Family: Change a Life programme.

She says it was there she and Soogrim first became introduced to the Couva family and would assist them occasionally, but when things took a turn for the worst with the family due to the pandemic, they immediately decided to adopt the family fully.

The family, which consists of a husband, wife, and children, is not lazy, the couple tells us. And did not set out for handouts. They say the father, a proficient tradesman, has been hit the hardest.

“Just a few days ago the father of the family sat down and started crying. Being the sole breadwinner of the family and now having no way to provide for his family, just watching them go hungry for several days, is unbearable for him,” Soogrim says.

Due to the pandemic, the couple who has one child has also been forced to postpone their wedding which was carded for next month, but they take no disappointment in even this, as they say, it is an unusual time.

Soogrim said helping this family was also particularly close to the heart of his soon-to-be wife as she grew up under harsh poverty.

He said, “As much as you may think that you are at the end of the road, there are people that are in worse off conditions than you are.”

The couple is imploring people at this time if they could adopt a family in need at this time to do so.

“People are really suffering out there and now is the opportune time for us to be our brother’s keeper,” they said.

Reporter: Bobie-Lee Dixon