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Government to end combined “grocery bag” program in March

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Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2021. 2:23 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The combined Food Pantry Program and Food Assistance Program, now known as the “Grocery Bag,” will only be extended to the end of the current financial year in March, Minister for Human Development Dolores Balderamos-Garcia said this week.

The Minister has already warned that “everybody kyaahn get grocery bags”, and those that do will be limited to the neediest and most deserving.

Minister Balderamos-Garcia told Channel 7 News, “I would really hope that we can soon get to the day when we don’t have to be giving out grocery bags; however, that said, I want to assure you that we are committed to taking the food assistance program through to the end of the financial year and although we may not be able to help as many people as we’d like we will try to focus, as I said earlier this week on the poorest of the poor and the people who need it the most.”

The Food Pantry was first established under the United Democratic Party in conjunction with the BOOST conditional cash transfer program as a sort of welfare aid. The Food Assistance Program was established at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as additional, separate aid to the Unemployment Relief Program and others. All of the programs have been criticized for misuse by the People’s United Party while they were in opposition.

The Minister added that her staff is working overtime to develop the final list of recipients and the bags will be made available up to four times by the end of March, i.e., every 15 days.

The bags are basic foodstuff collected from neighborhood supermarkets and grocery stores; the food pantry was delivered twice a month at a cost of $15 per month.

 

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