"We can meet the challenge of these extraordinary times, only with extraordinary kindness and generosity of the community."
Initially, when Cayman's borders were closed in 2020, ARK's efforts focused on the Kindness Kitchen. This constituted a major - and highly visible - effort to ensure that all those who suddenly became unemployed, and other vulnerable community members, would not go hungry in the immediate aftermath of job losses combined with a mandatory lockdown over 2.5 months.
ARK was well placed to mount these efforts - which would not have been possible without a combination of generosity (of hundreds of donations) and dozens of volunteers.
The R3 Foundation was one of those numerous major donors to the Kindness Kitchen - and has again supported ARK's current effort to ensure that no one is disconnected from utilities (water & electricity) through its Relief Care Packages for Christmas.
The lockdown made it possible for Cayman to live without community transmission of Covid-19. Yet the months-long border closure in 2020 has resulted in a cascade of other problems, including surging unemployment levels as the months have gone on.
ARK is daily made aware of dozens of tragic scenarios which are unfolding around us that are invisible to most people as we continue with our daily lives in relative normalcy (compared to the rest of the world at the moment).
Hunger remains, and a housing crisis - entirely predictable - has now unfolded. The bleak reality is that hundreds of children, struggling families and vulnerable people face eviction. Relief measures have come and gone, and savings and pension withdrawals have been spent (most often on rent and utility arrears). Those who lost their jobs earlier in the year have few, if any, short term prospects of income through employment.
ARK continues to alleviate the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are scaling up our ability to provide adequate housing, connectivity and food support to the least fortunate and most affected. Community generosity and private donations are needed more than ever in Cayman to enable our community to overcome this crisis.