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Ancil Dennis

By Casandra Thompson-Forbes

With the Stay at Home order still in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one Tobago assemblyman has embarked on an initiative to assist the elderly in his electoral district in accessing grocery and pharmaceutical items.

The initiative called, ‘The Grocery Run’ was was conceptualized by Ancil Dennis, the representative for the electoral district of Buccoo/ Mt. Pleasant. It targets persons 65 years or older, as well as individuals living with a disability.

In an interview with Guardian Media Dennis said, this service was essential.

“It’s a simple initiative whereby we are offering a service to mainly our senior citizens and other persons living with disabilities, where we would come to them, take their cash, of course utilizing very accountable and transparent processes and we would go to the grocery store, pharmacies and markets etc and purchase exactly what these persons are in need of. So, of course, it’s soon going to be month-end, and we are encouraging all of our seniors to utilize this service so that they can stay at home during this pandemic,” he said

Dennis said individuals must provide the cash, as well as a clear list of items to be purchased at an estimated value of $300 or more. He said he had a cadre of volunteers who were ready and willing to assist.

“I do not think it is wise for our senior citizens to go to groceries and line up especially in the midst of this month-end rush, where social distancing may not always be possible, so we are encouraging them to utilize this service. Volunteers are already coming on board, so I’m hoping that we can assist as many persons as possible and even in extreme circumstances, we are willing and able to assist persons outside of the electoral district,” he said.

In addition to ‘The Grocery Run’ initiative, Dennis said, 200 masks would be distributed to senior citizens and vulnerable residents in his area, while a number of hampers would be distributed to persons in need, which he said would continue for the foreseeable future.

He said a partnership will be forged with the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) to distribute seedlings, while his office continues to assist individuals with the application and printing of forms for the various Social Assistance Grants.

Dennis is asking those wishing to access The Grocery Run service to make contact with him or with his office.