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COVID-19 Food Assistance Program to restart using Government resources

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Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2021. 9:03 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Minister of Human Development Dolores Balderamos-Garcia has confirmed that a third round of food assistance due to COVID-19 will start this week using sources of revenue from the Government as opposed to international loans and grants.

The first round lasted from last June to last November when it was ended due to general elections and the People’s United Party taking over in Government; a more limited second round was offered starting in January and effectively ending in March.

The key difference this time around, says Balderamos-Garcia, is that incumbent area representatives will have more of a say in its distribution, and recipients will be made to sign for their bags to confirm that they received them.

The Minister says the FAP and it’s long-running predecessor, the Food Pantry Program, are now together as one program, having undergone multiple name changes.

On concerns of accountability, the Minister concedes that the assessment process for the companion Conditional Cash Transfer Program (BCAT, not to be confused with the BOOST program) was, in her words, “deeply flawed.” Her colleagues also expressed concern that they were not able to reach the most needy of their constituents due to the constraints of the program.

The FAP restrictions will be eased some compared to the BOOST, and area representatives must ensure the most needy receive.

She reminded that there is no substitute for getting people back to work and lauded the comeback of tourism and the critical intervention of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The current iteration of the bags will cost between 75 and 80 dollars; the total value of this round of assistance is $3 million.

The Minister backed her colleagues to correct the mistakes of prior rounds and be able to ensure everyone has had assistance as much as possible especially after concerns were raised about needy persons being passed over.

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