Thanks to a number of donors who came forward, we’re able to continue our program of relief vouchers. We’ve distributed 120 of these so far, each valuing $100 to be spent at Knight’s Trading in Port Elizabeth. They are intended as a help as well as a way of saying that we’re thinking of you. That we know times are hard, and we want to wish you well.
This year, sadly, is getting off to a bit of a bad start. Cases continue to rise, affecting new communities throughout the Caribbean and around the world. This is the year that the pandemic will effectively end, though the echo of the experience will carry on well past the administration of the vaccines. It will continue to depress the tourist industry throughout the region, making any relief we are able to offer well worth the effort.
One of the nice aspects of a voucher program is that it helps recipients through support of local businesses. We’re not importing anything, and that’s intentional. Instead, supplies are sourced through local provisioners, administered by local staff. The administration and distribution of the vouchers is accomplished through a volunteer committee along with island staff.
The program began as an idea. Could we do this? Would it work? We’ve proven, I think, that we can and it will. The question now is, Can we do more? Can we make it bigger, delivering more to more people? In the coming months, we’ll hope to do more. With your help, especially, we can do this. The next round of vouchers will be distributed later this month, and we’ll look to augment it throughout the year ahead.