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Action plan to help vulnerable groups

Wayne Cainesm the Minister of National Security, David Burt, the Premier, and Kelly Trott, the deputy director of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation Team (Photograph supplied).

An action plan to help some of the island’s most vulnerable groups during the coronavirus crisis is under development, it was announced yesterday.Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said he hoped that a plan to help the homeless could be unveiled soon.He added: “We believe that this is a community challenge and we want to find out how we can best serve our community.”Mr Caines said that Leroy Bean, a pastor and the gang violence reduction co-ordinator, was working with the Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation Team and church congregations.He added that a remote prayer meeting was expected to be held at noon today, although worshippers would not “gather at any place specifically”.Mr Caines said: “The faith-based elements of our country are going to come together for a time of prayer, collectively, and meeting privately in their place of abode, respecting social distances, not in their churches but in their particular homes and that information will be cascaded down to the faith-based community to pass on to their parishioners as soon as it is practical.”The Salvation Army added: “During these challenging days, we want to assure the people of Bermuda that we are here to fulfil our mission.“Our food banks, feeding programme, and street ministry will continue to operate. “Additional measures are in place to protect the safety of our staff, volunteers and those we serve.”On Monday, church leaders were given guidance on how they can help homeless people after residents were asked not to gather in large groups.Kelly Trott, of the DRRMT, said that “the question of feeding came up” at a meeting with 110 clerics.She explained: “A lot of churches actually invite those persons in and they sit and feed them. “We’ve given them guidelines on how they can perhaps do a takeout, how they can still offer shower facilities, how they can be staggered, how we can actually encourage smaller numbers when it’s done.”Ms Trott added: “Essentially, it’s going to fall on all of us to operate differently, yet to still get the services that need to happen to that group in particular — vulnerable persons, seniors.“We need to make sure they are taken care of during this time.”*To contact a Salvation Army food bank call: Hamilton — 537-6455; St George’s — 297-0267; Somerset — 234-4046.