The COVID-19 Food Assistance Program and the Grocery Bag Program have now been merged into one program entitled Food Assistance Program. The distribution of these relief packages will be making a come back soon. For almost two months all COVID-19 programs out of the Ministry of Human Development were placed on pause for further revision. Our newsroom asked Minister of Human Development Dolores Balderamos Garcia for an update in which she stated that they are still in the process of vetting applications. She reiterated that the money is tight due to rampant spending in the previous administration.
Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister, Human Development, Families & Indigenous Affairs: “There’s not much there. What is happening is that we are in the process of vetting the applications. I do have to point out though that the money remaining up until the end of the financial year is very limited. So we have a tremendous desire, a tremendous wish on the part of the Belizean people to participate because things are hard but I don’t want to give bad news but I do have to say that the number of persons that we may be able to help will be limited. But government is committed with the limited resources that we have left we are committed to seeing it through until the end of the financial year but as you know we merged the former Pantry and Grocery Bag we merged it with the COVID Food Assistance so it is one Food Assistance Program and that is what we will roll out I think it will be a basket once every two weeks but again I have to caution that it will be limited. We’re hoping by the end of next week we’re hoping by the end of next week and of course that should take us up to about the third week of March. So people may only be able to get a basket maybe two or three times and we will do our best to make sure that we assist the poorest of our poor people because certainly everybody can’t get.”
According to the Government, the target population is the needy and most vulnerable households in the country. Priority will be given to households where no one is working, households that are not receiving assistance through BOOST or BCCAT, households that are not receiving a pension, single-parent families, families with children, elderly, and differently-abled individuals.