Republic Bank, Rotaract partner for Annual "RotaGift" Initiative

Barbadians are being encouraged to give generously to the annual Rotaract Club of Barbados’ “RotaGift” initiative which will benefit women, and their children, seeking help at the Business & Professional Women’s Club’s shelter for battered women.

This is the first year Republic Bank is partnering with the club. Donation bins for food items and household products have been placed at the Six Roads, Broad Street and Warrens branches and will remain in these locations until December 18th.

Director of Community Service for the Rotaract Club of Barbados, Melanie Goodridge, explained, “RotaGift is a project that was created four years ago. It was born out of wanting to do more for those women who were in the shelter. So, we learned of their needs, which were basic things such as food and hygiene items, and since then they became our persons to take care of.”

She said the donations were “generally good” and the club usually raised “more than enough food to donate”. However, this year’s donations will be especially important.

“Based on the year we’ve had, more than ever, they need the items,” she said.

People are asked to donate canned goods such as: sardines; corn; tuna; peas; vienna sausages; luncheon meat; mixed vegetables; and baked beans.

Other required food items are: ketchup; hot sauce; drink mix; evaporated milk; mayonnaise; bottle spices and seasonings; sugar; flour; rice; and pasta.

Also on the list are cleaning agents such as: Ajax; toilet bowl cleaner; dishwashing liquid; laundry detergent; disinfectants; and surgical/rubbing alcohol.

There is also need for household items such as: forks & spoons (only); baking pans (muffin, cake etc - small/ medium); medium-sized frying pans; small and medium-sized pyrex dishes; non-electric kettles; wooden ironing boards; large storage containers; non-electrical night lights; flashlights; LED lights; mops; and bed linen (white/twin).

Toiletries are not needed at present.

Goodridge said the club is pleased to partner with Republic Bank this year and she thanked management for the quick response to the club’s call for assistance.

“We got a response almost the next day and they were so eager and excited to be on board with the project,” she said.

“We could not say no to such a worthy cause,” said Republic Bank’s Manager, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Sophia Allsopp Cambridge.

“When we found out about the project, we immediately saw it as something we could support and promote. This has been a challenging year for all of us but throughout it, we at the Bank have stood shoulder to shoulder with our social partners who have all gone above and beyond to assist those vulnerable groups with whom they work. It is fitting that we should end the year on this note - working with a new partner to help and support people in need. We encourage our clients and all Barbadians to rally around these women and their children and give whatever they can,” she said.

President of the BPWC, Nicole Alleyne-Phillips-Ayikpa, said she hopes the partnership with Republic Bank will send much needed resources their way. The shelter houses female domestic abuse victims and their children for up to three months. They are provided with counselling and medical assistance as well as food, shelter and clothing. Women may also receive training in areas such as cosmetology, flower arranging, personal development and more. Assistance is also provided for school-aged children to continue their education. The services are all provided free of cost.

“It is a comprehensive service that we offer because our goal is that when that woman leaves she is well positioned, better than when she started with us,” the president explained.

She said the shelter had already benefited tremendously from the “phenomenal relationship” with the Rotaract Club of Barbados.

“They have been extraordinary to us in terms of their giving and raising funds for us. There is not enough thanks in the ‘thanks pool’ to give where they are concerned. They have done more than I could have ever asked them to do,” she said.

While a financial aid programme is something she hopes to see developed for the ladies in the future, the president noted that there is a more urgent need for a van to transport the women and children to and from work, school and medical appointments.

December 14, 2020
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