Derby on board with surprise grocery vouchers
Shoppers received surprise gifts of grocery vouchers outside supermarkets yesterday after a sponsor of the island's oldest road race forked out $10,000 to fund the scheme.
Dental practice Kerin Oral Care celebrated its tenth anniversary by joining forces with the Bermuda Half Marathon Derby to help families with their food bills instead of helping to fund the race, cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gina Tucker, the president of the organising committee for the 111-year-old sports event, said: “Of course we are not able to have the event this year, which was very sad.
“We were very excited that our sponsors have agreed to partner with the derby in lieu of the event, to support the community in recognition of the Covid-19 challenges.”
She said that Kerin Oral Care, based on Southcourt Avenue, Paget, and owned by Kianna Simmons, bought grocery vouchers valued at $25, $50 and $100.
Teams will set up with balloons outside several supermarkets again today and tomorrow to hand out more vouchers.
Dr Simmons, whose husband is runner Sammy DeGraff, said: “The community needs so much, people are just having a hard time so we just thought, what greater way to give back and surprise the community?
“We didn't have all this money, but with the little bit that we did have, we just wanted to spread it around as much as we could.”
Dr Simmons added: “We saw so many people who were speechless, they were so grateful.
“I just praise God for the opportunity to be able to help them and I think that's really what it's all about.
“The giving back as a celebration has been awesome.”
She said: “You really appreciate what you can do to help somebody else.
“For me, there's no better way that I could have celebrated ten years than by giving back and helping our community during this time.
“We know this is just the beginning, it's going to get rougher, but it gives them hope to let them know that there are people who care.”
Dr Tucker said: “It's very random ... many have said they're not in need and we asked for them to pay it forward.
“For the most part people have been very thankful and we have seen tears and just sheer joy at the receiving of this little token of appreciation for them.”
She added: “People have been very pleased, excited and grateful.”
Dr Tucker said that it took time to sink in that the race, scheduled to be held on Friday, would not be run this year.
She explained: “It has been very hard, I think, for the community and just accepting that the iconic road running event along with the day itself will not be happening.”
Dr Tucker added: “I kept trying to remain optimistic, it kept looking like maybe, maybe not. I was hoping that things would have improved enough so that we could have that day.
“I believe that Bermuda needs a day to come together and celebrate, but we can only do that when it's safe to do so and so I understand that it's not safe as yet to have that kind of event or celebration.
“It is sad but it will go down in history, that's for sure.”
She told the public that they could “do the derby your own way” on Friday morning by taking part in any activity in celebration of Bermuda Day and it associated events.
Dr Tucker added: “In recognition of what would have been a race — run, skip, jump, do something.”