Premier joins volunteers at Grateful Bread food drive
Two volunteers at the Grateful Bread feeding programme proved you are never too distinguished to roll up your sleeves and help the community.
David Burt, the Premier, and Leo Mills, an acting magistrate, dished out food to the homeless and needy at a community action dinner programme on Thursday.
At least 200 people attended the festive event, organised by staff at Canterbury Law, at Astwood Hall, Pembroke.
The Premier, who was volunteering with his wife, Kristin, and two children, Nia and Edward, said: “We feel that it is important to teach our children the spirit of the Christmas holiday.
“It is a wonderful programme and we have supported it before.It reminds you of the incredible amount of work that remains to be done but also that this is a time to bring happiness and joy to people. It's seasons like this that you show the true Bermudian spirit and all the country pitches in.”
Mr Mills described the event as “a shining example of the way in which the community comes together” and he added: “It is a wonderful gesture and a wonderful testimony to the love and grace of the community as a whole. It's great to be a part of it. This is my second time at the ‘rodeo' and I have enjoyed it immensely.”
The food drive was the 23rd of its kind organised by Grateful Bread since January 2017.
A complimentary turkey dinner with all the trimmings was served and free items were given out, including clothes, household necessities and toiletries. One woman, who asked to be named as Mrs Minors, said she takes leftover food to those in her neighbourhood who are out of work.
“It is a blessing for lots of people,” she said. “This is a time for people to get together. Some people are alone and they don't want to eat alone so they come out and enjoy the atmosphere.
“Most times I take food home for my neighbours who are struggling. They don't have their own place — they are living with someone and do odd jobs in the neighbourhood.”
Stacy Wilson, who attended with her family, said: “Even with a job some people can't afford to get by. You come to something like this and everyone helps each other. Bermuda is expensive but Christmas is even worse, sometimes you can't afford gifts.
“I hold part-time jobs so it is very hard for me — the money I make goes on my rent and just groceries so I struggle.”
Larrita Adderley, who was attending the event for the second time, added: “I love it. I know what it feels like — the struggle. I was on Financial Assistance, I'm off it now. I volunteered for 11 months at a nursery and from that I got hired so I have been doing that for two years but it is still expensive out there. This helps a lot.”
Organiser Juliana Snelling said that volunteers were now delivering food plates to people on the streets.
She said: “I had tried to go out in the van and bring them here but some can't walk and some don't want to come here.
“So last month, for the first time, we started packing up what was left and taking it out.”
Residents of senior homes Westmeath Home and Matilda Smith Home received special invitations to this year's dinner.
The next dinner will be held on January 31 at the same location. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact co-ordinator Suzi Outerbridge on 296-8444 or e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org