Facts About Our Work in Barbados
Food For The Poor began serving in Barbados in 2015. The international relief and development organization is working primarily with The HUB People-Helping-People, a nonprofit organization that was developed and launched in April 2014, at the request of Bishop Jason Gordon of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown, Barbados. The HUB is a nondenominational organization that serves as an initial point of contact between people in need and community service organizations.
Barbados may be one of the wealthiest and most developed countries in the Eastern Caribbean, but the island nation’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, which took a hard hit during the recession of 2008. In a country with less than 290,000 people, nearly 14 percent of the population is affected by poverty, according to the World Bank.
An economic crisis in Barbados has resulted in increased unemployment across the island, a decline in the country’s infrastructure and an increase of children needing breakfast in schools. Reports of increased poverty have surfaced in the parishes of St. Joseph, St. John, St. James, and Christ Church. Pockets of poverty also are showing up in St. Michael Parish, where the capital Bridgetown is located.
As of August 2017, Food For The Poor shipped three tractor-trailer loads of essential goods to Barbados, including the following items:
- MannaPacks (a nutritious food supplement)
- Household items and clothing
- Sewing machines
Food For The Poor has shipped a tractor-trailer load of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown. The Queen Elizabeth is the primary hospital for the southern part of the island and has fallen into difficulties since its opening in 1964.
In 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm with the British Monarch as hereditary head of state. Due to their colonial history and connection to the United Kingdom, even after independence, it is sometimes referred to as Little England. The island has 11 parishes and a population of approximately 285,000 people, predominantly of African descent. The Barbados literacy rate is ranked close to 100 percent. The mainstream public education system of Barbados is fashioned after the British model. Historically, the economy of Barbados had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but since the late 1970s and early 1980s it has diversified into the manufacturing and tourism sectors. Despite being classified as an Atlantic island, Barbados is considered to be a part of the Caribbean, where it is ranked as a leading tourist destination. The island saw a construction boom in the early 2000s with the development and redevelopment of hotels, office complexes and homes. This slowed during the 2008 economic crisis.