COVID-19: 80 per cent of callers asking for food

Empower Pacific Chief Executive Officer Patrick Morgam at his office in Waya Street Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FT FILE

About 80 per cent of callers who sought counselling from Empower Pacific also requested for food assistance as well.

Empower Pacific chief executive officer Patrick Morgam said the organisation referred those cases to the relevant organisations.

Mr Morgam said they partnered with the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND) Fiji that had recently established a food bank for families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We do get a lot of calls from people seeking help and while we offer counselling services, our organisation also helps in these areas whenever we can,” he said.

“We have a great partnership with FRIEND Fiji and they have been at the forefront in terms of helping households that have been facing a lot of hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mr Morgam said Empower Pacific was open to new partnerships that could increase the type of assistance it could provide for affected households.

“A lot of our work involves going out to communities that were severely impacted by disaster and we are always willing to partner with organisations that want to offer relief items to these communities.

“For instance, we have been very fortunate to be working with Government in providing counselling services for TC Harold affected villages in the Lau Group, Kadavu and Vatulele.

“We also partnered with an NGO called Sea Mercy which travelled to the Lau Group to deliver relief items.

“With FRIEND Fiji, we are working closely with them in locating households that are in dire need of food supplies.”

FRIEND Fiji was recently given $30,000 by the European Union to establish food banks in Lautoka, Nadi and Ba.

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