The Foundation for the Enhancement and Enrichment of Life (FEEL) was “busier than ever” during the Covid-19 pandemic achieving a milestone in 2020, with about 65 containers of goods distributed.
Chief Executive Officer Elena Villafana-Sylvester said prior to this, about 40 containers of goods were distributed annually. She noted that during the two years of the pandemic, FEEL has distributed approximately $116 million in supplies of foodstuff, toiletries, cleaning products, and medical supplies.
FEEL is based at Fernandes Compound, Eastern Main Road. The organisation got permission from the Health Ministry to operate. Through the government-established Covid-19 task force, it worked hand in hand with the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) on distributions, “so things ran smoothly from the time the government shut down everything from April 2020 to the present”. The TTDF helped ensure Covid-19 protocols were maintained and provided the manpower to distribute container loads of goods.
Villafana-Sylvester added, “There is no way we could have distributed the number of containers, the goods we had, without the support of the TTDF. We could not get together manpower to do that. Remember people could not come out, everybody had to stay home.” Logistical issues caused FEEL to scale back distributions in 2021.
Recently, FEEL was highlighted in the media distributing books to RC primary schools (CN March 27). It has distributed sanitary supplies, furniture, and equipment to RC primary and secondary schools. Included in the donations was a piano and microscopes for secondary schools. These activities are a normal part of FEEL’s mandate.
“From a broader perspective, FEEL gives to community groups and included in those will be the St Vincent de Paul Societies, children’s homes run by the Catholic Church, other Catholic organisations; we give them donations in bulk, and they are supposed to use it for the work they are doing.”
FEEL collaborates with international donors that provide “everything from foodstuff to furniture to books”. Villafana-Sylvester made it clear that not only Catholic schools and groups are assisted by FEEL. Villafana-Sylvester said like other organisations, FEEL is challenged with finances. There are costs associated with accessing donations, maintaining the FEEL warehouse and logistics of making donations available.
Financial support from the public is greatly needed. Villafana-Sylvester also called for volunteers to assist. During this Easter she is asking for members of the public to spread the word that help is available. Villafana-Sylvester continued, “Groups that are members of FEEL come like clockwork every month to collect donations from us, but we need people to know that there is an organisation near them with supplies so that they can have even a simple meal or get other help.”
To find the list of organisations receiving bulk donations from FEEL or what help is available visit feeltt.org Anyone interested in sponsoring a school to receive supplies from FEEL can contact the organisation at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost for schools is $1200 annually, to year end December 31. —LPG