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TALK BACK: How do we identify the needy?

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

TALK BACK: How do we identify the needy?

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President of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society Kemar Saffrey recently lamented the number of people who were not “homeless” joining the queues for free meals provided under their programme.
Online readers were quick to condemn the practice and suggested using an identification (ID) card which would eliminate the people from “Government offices, security firms, restaurants, taxi-men” who should not be in line.
But others have noted it might be a deeper problem which needs to be addressed. They say the “working poor”, some of whom are barely making ends meet, may be driven to join the line.
Here are their views on the matter.
Carl Harper: It is unconscionable that Bajans would take food from the mouths of people who struggle on a daily basis just to get a crumb to eat. I am outraged at this practice, to say the least.
Brerlou King: Maybe you could issue the people in your database with cards, or if these tend to get lost, with renewable tickets or coupons after each meal.
Lucky Hall: An ID card system should be put in place, along with information if the person is working full-time and where. This may help keep the ones who don’t need it out, and more for the ones that do.
Lloyd Gulston: There are many whose debt situation is so bad that all they are left in hand to take care of basic needs is nothing short of meagre and embarrassing. Some of those Government workers might genuinely need that meal.
Sugar Apple: Just because they aren’t homeless means that they have enough to eat? I know a gas attendant and a security guard who have somewhere to live but hardly have enough eat.
Nariba Daniel: I see men getting on bicycles and riding off laughing with a good meal and it is sick. Too many Bajans are becoming more and more heartless, just trying to cut corners at the expense of the people who really need it.
Anthony Rocheford: I agree that this is wrong that they put the homeless at a disadvantage. However, does this not appear to be a bigger problem of the working poor who cannot feed themselves? Should this not be investigated further to reach the cause of these actions?
Bentley Williams: It is beyond disgusting that people who can do better are abusing this programme.
Stephanie Bishop: There should be a system in place so that any and everybody can’t just come and get food. That being said, the root of the problem is selfishness and greed.
Shawn Thomas: On the surface it doesn’t look right but they could be a step away from homelessness themselves. Let’s still try to take care of each other and pray that the entire population doesn’t end up having to beg for food.
Jamar Jones: It doesn’t stop there. Look at the people in the line for the Salvation Army Christmas hampers for the less fortunate.
Alleyna Brathwaite: All they are doing is abusing a system designed to help persons who are not able to have meals and they just don’t care what they are doing. Then the persons who are actually helping might stop because of this.
Flojoe Maloney: They need to shame the ones not in need of the meal.
• Sherrylyn Toppin is THE NATION’s Online Editor.

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