SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund disburses $93K in Food Vouchers 

(CASTRIES, Saint Lucia – Friday 21st December 2023)– The Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association’s (SLHTA) Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) kicked off its Annual Christmas Food Drive on Wednesday, December 20, 2023. For nearly a decade the TEF has embarked on this initiative to spread seasonal cheers and goodwill to families in need.

This year $93,000 in food vouchers will be provided to the less fortunate. The vouchers will be disbursed island-wide through partnerships with a number of community groups, including: the Lions Club of Gros Islet, Rotary Club of Saint Lucia, Dunnattar School, Alexander Family Foundation, Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (Gros Islet, Babonneau, Richfond, Dennery, Soufriere and Vieux Fort stations), Saint Lucia Dove Club, Millet Development Committee, Community Outreach Grooming Service Project, religious organisations and Musicians/Entertainers.

TEF Programme Manager Donette Ismael (left) and Sergeant Zachary Hippolyte.

The SLHTA’s office in Rodney Heights, Gros Islet was buzzing with excitement on Wednesday as representatives of some of the groups gathered to participate in a handover ceremony.

The Lions Club of Gros Islet is a longstanding partner of the TEF. The Club’s Past President, Samantha Joseph, thanked the Fund for this latest donation, which she says will go a long way. “This will significantly expand our outreach throughout our communities and enable us to do more. It is great to be able to put food on somebody’s table, especially in this current time when we are all faced with soaring prices at the supermarkets. We are so grateful to the TEF; they’ve been very impactful and supportive to the Lions Club. We hope to continue to do more with them in the future.”

Sergeant Zachary Hippolyte leads the Community Relations Branch of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, and underscored the importance of Community Relations Liaison Officers.  “We interact with vulnerable individuals; individuals that definitely need assistance especially around Christmas time. There’s this thought that crime is linked to poverty and poverty is linked to crime. So we are always grateful to receive this type of assistance where we could contribute to making somebody’s life a little better and happier. It goes a long way in trying to change the mindset of an individual that might say ‘you know what happen, I’m hungry so I’m going to rob somebody.’  It is definitely well timed and we’re happy to receive this assistance from the SLHTA’s TEF.”

Past President of the Lions Club of Gros Islet Samantha Joseph (left) and TEF Programme Manager Donette Ismael.

TEF Chairman Winston Anderson noted that the TEF is committed to positively impacting current and future generations. “It always gives us great joy to undertake our Annual Christmas Drive. This initiative provides us with an added opportunity to directly impact our communities, embody the true spirit of giving and put smiles on recipients’ faces. The Food Drive marks the culmination of our interventions for 2023, during which EC$1.4 million dollars was disbursed through various programmes across the island. I want to say a special heartfelt thank you to all our visitors and contributing companies for your continued support throughout the year.”

(Left to right) TEF Technical Officer Tamara Amos, Marie St. Paul and Lovelyn Butcher of the St. Lucia Dove Club and TEF Programme Manager Donette Ismael.

TEF Programme Manager Donette Ismael said that this project holds a special place in her heart. “Although the TEF donates throughout the year we are always happy to close it in the spirit of giving. I want to thank the many agencies that have partnered with us to help identify the most vulnerable and less fortunate. As we prepare to usher in the New Year, the TEF pledges to continue forging partnerships for a better Saint Lucia.”