Families thank fundraisers and a charity for help
Struggling families have written letters of thanks after they got help with living expenses from a fund launched after the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
A single father said that the people involved in the drive by Grateful Bread, a community action group, in partnership with the Coalition for the Protection of Children charity, were “angels”.
Children also showed their appreciation for assistance that helped their parents through tough times.
Supporters of Grateful Bread raised almost $160,000 for the programme since April.
The single dad wrote: “My daughter and I are greatly appreciative of the help that you are giving us.
“As a single father it is very hard in these trying times to raise her.
“Angels come in many forms and we are very thankful that you have been sent to assist us.
“Thank you for placing a smile on my daughter’s face and ensuring her happiness.”
The money was poured into the Grateful Bread’s Families Supporting Families fund, run in partnership with the Coalition for the Protection of Children.
The cash was used to cover expenses such as groceries, Belco bills, rent, medical treatment, school uniforms and internet connections to help pupils with remote learning.
Juliana Snelling, the founder of Grateful Bread, said that the group’s monthly meals for people in need were halted because of the pandemic, so it joined forces with the CPC to help families in need.
The organisations compiled anonymous biographies of parents and their children along with details of their needs, which were sent out as a “Genius List” to supporters.
Families were given names linked to wildlife, emotions and characteristics, such as the Resilient, Humble and Nature families.
Donors can read the information and fill a “slot” to help families.
A biography for the Determined Family – a single parent of girls aged 6 and 3 – said: “This young mother has battled with depression for several years.
“She is highly engaged and motivated to take care of her own mental health for the sake of her children.
“This mother was raised in foster care and has a determination about her to ensure that her own children do not repeat the same cycle.
“Mom was actively seeking employment prior to Covid and although things have slowed down tremendously, she has not.
“The children are girlie girls who enjoy all aspects of dress up and dolls.”
It added that the family’s monthly expenses were $1,000 for rent and $800 for groceries.
Ms Snelling told the public: “This is your way to meet those families directly … everything’s anonymous but … they show very heart-tugging stories of what real families of Bermuda are going through.”
She added: “You then get the personal thank you back and that encourages people to keep going.”
Ms Snelling said that, because Grateful Bread is not a registered charity, none of the money donated was spent on administration, but went to the CPC.
She said that donations to the project were a good alternative to giving or receiving gifts at Christmas.
Suzi Outerbridge, a Grateful Bread organiser, added that some people and companies contributed money they had planned to spend on Christmas dinners the help those less fortunate.
She said: “We have had 35 families in total but a lot of families have dropped off because they have been helped, they got back on their feet.”
“Right now, we have 15 families on there.”
Rachel Dill, the director of client services at the CPC, added that the charity usually could not cover rent costs for its clients, but the Families Supporting Families programme had provided enough cash for temporary assistance.
She said: “It’s not sustainable to support people with rent, so to be able to now say we can help for a couple of months, families are so appreciative.”
Meritus Trust Company, which donated $3,000, was among the organisations to donate to the project.
A spokeswoman said: “Each of our colleagues was asked to vote for their top three families and the result was that we signed up for 60 slots on behalf of the Empathy Family, the Purpose Family and the Committed Family.
“The stories of these particular families really resonated with us.
“Despite the challenges of this year, we are in a fortunate place where we are able to continue as an organisation to provide services to our client families.
“We are acutely aware, however, that the challenges that many in the community have been facing continue to increase this December.
“We are grateful to be able to collaborate with Grateful Bread and CPC, and contribute in some way to hopefully lightening the load a little and bring some joy during this holiday season.”
• For more information and to donate, e-mail Suzi Outerbridge at firstname.lastname@example.org or visitwww.signupgenius.com/go/5080d4caeaa2aa0fd0-cpcfsf
• To read the biographies of 15 families in need, click on the Pdf under “Related Media”.