FREEPORT, Grand Bahama — Last week The Bahamas was the recipient of a sizeable donation of TVs, beds, blankets and patio furniture courtesy of the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship. The Infinity had recently been dry docked at the Grand Bahama Shipyard where it underwent substantial renovations as well as being completely redecorated, allowing the Celebrity Company to donate 1,350 mattresses, 500 outdoor chairs, 100 outdoor tables, 1,800 blankets and 500 televisions.
Helping organise the contribution, Sarah Kirkby, President of Barefoot Marketing, explained how the donation came about. “While on board the Infinity for my client, the Grand Bahama Shipyard, we happened to meet Roswita Arnet, Director of Hotel Operation Development for Celebrity Cruises. She showed us all the items that were going to be replaced and was hopeful we knew a charity that would be interested in these itmes.”
“Being a member of the GB Children’s Home Committee I was very interested in receiving a few beds and TV’s! So I began by contacting the Minister of State for Social Services who asked us to get a letter requesting what the cruise liner would like to donate. This letter was then sent to the Ministry of Finance to request duty exemption on the used items.”
The Bahamian Government agreed to waive the customs duties on these items and Social Services were gifted these donations in December which they opted to distribute to over 20 local charities in Grand Bahama.
Speaking on behalf of the cruise line Ms. Arnet noted, “With Celebrity Cruises being based in Miami, Grand Bahama Island and The Islands of the Bahamas are essentially in our backyard. The people of Grand Bahama Island have shown us great hospitality, and we are honoured to have had the opportunity to give a little something back by way of donating goods from our ship, Celebrity Infinity, to local charities. We truly hope this will help make a difference in the lives of the Bahamian people.”
Managing the distribution of items was Lillian Quant-Forbes, Assistant Director of Social Services in Grand Bahama. “We have been co-coordinating with various charitable organisations and churches for the delivery and pick up of the items. One of the things we did not want was for persons just to come out here. So this is why the organisations and charities were selected. It makes it a little bit more controlled. The persons in the various communities who need these items can go through their various churches, charities, Salvation Army, Red Cross.”
“We also gave to residential facilities – the Home for the Aged, Burrows Home for the Aged, Central Home for the Aged, the Children’s Home, Columbus House. All those are organizations, which will be benefitting from this. In addition we did not leave out NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) because we at Social Services are responsible for shelters and understanding the need for having blankets and all the various shelters, so these are some of what we have been doing.”
Kirkby also noted that this enormous donation could not have happened without the coordination efforts of Reuben Bryd and his staff at the Grand Bahama Ship Yard, Jeremy Cafferata and the staff at Freeport Ship Services, Manuel Ruiz of MSC, and special thanks to both the Minister of State for Finance, MP Zhivargo Laing, and Minister of State for Social Services, MP Loretta Butler-Turner.
Here are all the charities that benefited from the INFINITY Donation:
- Burrows Home for the Aged
- Calvary Temple
- Outreach Ministries
- St. Jude’s Anglican Church
- Red Cross
- The Salvation Army
- St. Vincent Society
- Life Community Church
- Grand Bahama Home for the Aged
- Raybertha Home for the Aged
- Central home for the Elderly
- Christ the King Anglican Church
- Zion Baptist Church
- E.Jervis Center
- Raquel’s Daughters Ministries
- Church of the Good Shepherd
- Grand Bahama Children’s Home
- Columbus Houses
- Presbyterian Kirk Cross Reach
- Agape House Ministries
- Dept. Social Services
Photo 1: Cruise ship donation helps over 20 charities in Grand Bahama – Cruise ship Celebrity Infinity made a donation of over $2 million to The Bahamas this past weekend. The cruise ship was recently refurbished at Grand Bahama shipyard and while in port the cruise company decided to donate all their beds, TV’s, blankets and patio furniture to the country. Pictured are some of the local charities receiving their donations last weekend. The donation was coordinated by Social Services, Barefoot Marketing, Freeport Ship Services, MSC and Grand Bahama Shipyard.
Photo 2: New TV’s for Cancer Association of Grand Bahama – Freeport Ship Services staff load up a volunteers truck full of TV’s donated by the Celebrity Infinity to The Bahamas this past weekend. Norma Headley President of the Cancer Association of Grand Bahama watched as her donations were loaded in the truck. These TV’s will be used to help complete the Hospice that Headley and her Association have built, “There are eight rooms and I was wondering where I was going to get TV’s from. Now I don’t have to go back and to the stores and harass them, I have my TV’s completing the rooms and now I’m on the ball!”
Photo 3: Lots of beds too! The Cancer Association of Grand Bahama along with 20 other charities in Grand Bahama also received beds and blankets from the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship. Pictured are Freeport Ship Services staff loading the Cancer Associations allotted beds on a delivery truck.
Photo 4: Local companies helped coordinate the Celebrity donation – Jeremy Cafferata, President of Freeport Ship Services, spoke to the media last week during the 3 day distribution of beds, TV’s, blankets and patio furniture to over 20 local GB charities. Cafferata’s company helped organize the distribution of the Celebrity Infinity donations along with Grand Bahama Shipyard, MSC, Barefoot Marketing and Grand Bahama Social Services Department.