This community is doing a bang-up job of taking care of itself and its neighbors. Before the countrywide lockdown even officially started, residents of this village began mobilizing to combat what we could anticipate would be some really hard times for a lot of people. Placencia’s main business is tourism- resorts large and small, tour operators, restaurants and bars, shops. Almost everyone on the peninsula and surrounding communities is directly or indirectly employed in the tourism industry. With the total closure of borders and businesses, I wouldn’t consider this April to be shoulder or even slow season- it is NO season.
The two major villages on the peninsula (Seine Bight and Placencia) have organized food banks, the Rotary Club has arranged care packages for families in surrounding areas, and even a soup kitchen has been established at Omar’s by a family of restauranteurs (the Sierras). This week while so many people are struggling to put food in their pantries, I read an article that said poultry sales were down 50% (without all those tourists around to feed) and in response farmers were reducing their flocks. In other words, they’re killing off a bunch of their laying hens and not letting hatchlings mature because it’s too costly to maintain a full flock when sale demand has plummeted. Similarly, farmers are having to let their crops rot in the field because they can’t afford to take them to market. It’s become too costly and difficult to get a crew out to harvest and then take it to market where it might not sell at fair value anyway. This little jewel of a country has a surplus of food that is being squandered while its people endure lean times. Its heartbreaking to think about.
With this fresh in my mind, I was chatting with a mom friend about how we might be able to organize subsidizing a farmer and purchasing a crop directly for our community but I wouldn’t know where to start. Then on Facebook I see that Quality Poultry Products is running a special promotion- buy 2 crates of whole chickens and get a third for free. How well-timed and fortuitous! I knew I’d take advantage of this deal (dozens of chickens for less than wholesale?!? Heck yeah) by purchasing a case for my family and a case for the food bank then sharing the free crate with my neighbors. I told some other moms and they mobilized in a big way (see * note at bottom of passage)! When the chicken truck rolled in to town we were getting over 17 crates to distribute in Seine Bight- and that didn’t even include the crates that the Placencia food bank was putting aside for later distribution.
Village Council members and local educators went around handing out the chicken to grateful recipients. Over 300 families received them!
Through the altruism and generosity of people here and abroad, the peninsula’s food banks have been well stocked for staples such as flour, beans, eggs, and rice. Distribution has begun and will continue for as long as supplies can be refreshed and a need remains. If you would like to donate to the food banks here you can make a monetary donation online: Placencia Food Bank go-fund-me
* one of my core mom-crew members is Cindy Flowers, I’ve written about her before and what a fantastic organizer she is: all those cool Fire Department Fundraisers wouldn’t have happened without her. To be blunt, this woman gets shit DONE and this chicken order was no exception. She not only purchased and donated her own cases, she organized loads of monetary donations so that most of these other cases could be obtained and given to our neighbors in need. Side note: Cindy’s husband, Dwayne, is THE go-to guy for air conditioning install and maintenance or plumbing or really any handyman need (he’s been our hero so many times)