AUTHOR’S NOTE: a previous version of this story incorrectly associated Ms. Mallinson’s effort to collect food vouchers for ARK’s “Giving is Receiving” holiday campaign. Ms. Mallinson’s efforts are actually for ARK’s year-round food assistance programme called “Feed Cayman”. There will be no “Giving is receiving” programme for the 2016 festive season.
Cayman’s ARK, which stands for Acts of Random Kindness, has shelved its ‘Giving is Receiving’ food drive for 2016. The bulky blue donation bags may be a thing of the past, but one ARK volunteer is challenging the community to open their hearts and support another food assistance programme, ARK’s year-round ‘Feed Cayman.’
“It was fantastic,” said volunteer Natalie Mallinson of the ‘Giving is receiving’ campaign. “But very much the manpower, it took weekend after weekend after weekend of organising it all in big store rooms.”
Ms. Mallinson told Cayman 27 she hopes the public will give its support the ‘Feed Cayman’ programme, a year-round food assistance programme she hopes to see ramp up for the holidays. She said the families prefer receiving vouchers because they can get what best fills the family’ s food needs.
“That gives the recipients of the food vouchers an opportunity at Christmas to buy fresh products, take control of what they’re buying for their kids over Christmas,” she said. “So it’s still going to families in need this Christmas.”
Ms. Mallinson, a teacher at Casa Montessori, also loves spending time with children at George Town primary school. She told Cayman 27 she scours the island to find families who need help the most.
“We are working with different schools, different organisations, and social services,” said Ms. Mallinson. “These food vouchers, I can’t stress enough, are really going to the right families this Christmas.”
Ms. Mallinson said the simple gift of food security can help make ease the burden for struggling families.
“It meant they could buy presents for their children, it meant they could have a fresh Christmas dinner, it meant they had fish, turkey, and it just took the worry out of Christmas,” said Ms. Mallinson.
Ms. Mallinson told Cayman 27 she’s running the Cayman Islands Marathon, all 26.2 miles of it, on December 4 to support Cayman’s ARK.
Food vouchers can be bought at any island grocery store, and dropped off for the ‘Feed Cayman’ programme at Casa Montessori or George Town Primary School.