Last update: 11-Dec-2013 3:45 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Milk-a-thon aims for 7,000 cartons
The Foundation for the Enhancement and Enrichment of Life (Feel) is hosting this country’s first milk-a-thon, to distribute 7,000 cartons of milk to more than 50 children’s homes.
The non-governmental organisation (NGO), Feel provides support to close to 200 civil-society organisations. CEO Elena Villafana-Sylvester said the milk-a-thon is a nationwide effort to collect milk for distribution to thousands of children at institutions and homes throughout T&T.
She said the primary objective is to assist in meeting the nutritional needs of these children by supplying them with their daily requirements of milk.
“We understand that many of these children are at a disadvantage when it comes to proper nutrition. The managers of these homes will tell you making ends meet each month is quite challenging. So we are making it our duty with this milk-a-thon, which is going to become an annual event, to ensure they meet their nutritional requirements,” said Villafana-Sylvester.
The drive will begin on November 1 in Tobago. From 10 am to 6 pm people can make donations at the Feel milk-a-thon booth which will be set up at Gulf City Mall in Lowlands. In Trinidad, between 9 am and 5 pm, donations can be made at five Hi-Lo Food Stores at St Augustine, Chaguanas, Gulf City Mall, Maraval and Westmoorings.
Girl Guide volunteers at the Hi-Lo locations, wearing milk-a-thon badges, will help donors. Once a customer purchases milk for the donation, it will then be deposited at the collection points at the entrance to the supermarkets. Villafana-Sylvester said the 53 children’s homes registered with Feel—51 in Trinidad and two in Tobago—would be the main beneficiaries of the milk drive.
She said Feel was hoping to collect at least 1,000 litres of milk at each collection point.
The milk-a-thon has been in existence since 1978, and takes place in nine countries in Latin America.
“It has become an annual project in all locations. Trinidad is the first English-speaking country in which the milk-a-thon will be executed,” said Villafana-Sylvester.
The milk-a-thon is also a collaborative effort with Nestlé and Tetra Pak. Tetra Pak introduced the programme to T&T, and has provided all of the funding for it, including the marketing and advertising.
Nestlé representative Denise d’Abadie said Nestlé and Tetra Pak have pledged to donate 5,000 units of milk.
She said a second way in which people can support the drive would be by purchasing donation cards. From today to November 1 at Nestlé’s annual Dairy Booth at the Divali Nagar site, donation cards can be purchased for $10.
On November 1 cards can also be bought at the Gulf City venue in Tobago. Each card is equivalent to one litre of milk. d’Abadie said people who purchased donation cards would get the chance to place their signatures on the milk-a-thon boards at both venues.
She said the public is being encouraged to purchase milk in Tetra Pak packaging, not because it is part sponsor of the event, but because its packaging has a longer shelf life—six to eight months to be exact and is readily drinkable, which limits the possibility of contamination while handling or preparing the milk for drinking.
After the milk-a-thon, the various homes will be invited on Wednesday 6, to collect their milk donations at the Feel Warehouse in Laventille and from the Nestlé distributor Drew’s Trading in Shaw Park Tobago.
Villafana-Sylvester said the NGO has also teamed up with the Spree Simon Community Group, which will be assisting in the collection, packing and distribution of the milk. She said if donations exceed expectations, additional homes and institutions would be identified and the milk donated to them.
Founded 20 years ago by former Fatima College School principal Clive Pantin, the Foundation for the Enhancement and Enrichment of Life (Feel) based at Fernandes Industrial Centre, Eastern Main Road, Laventille, continues to act as the mother of all NGOs in T&T, according to the organisation. It currently provides support to close to 200 civil society organisations/NGOs, locally. Those include children’s homes, homes for the elderly, educational institutions at primary and secondary school level, and any other legitimate organisations doing charitable work. The organisation also acts as the co-ordinating NGO for disaster relief across the region. It solicits donations from local and international organisations for civil societies in T&T.
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