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May 8, 2020

A Soup Kitchen to Help Those in Need in Mesopotamia

COVID-19 has shed light on the number of families that are in desperate need of putting food on their table.  In the Mesopotamia Division in Belize City, a soup kitchen, organized by P.U.P. standard bearer Doctor Candice Pitts, was started to assist families with daily hearty and nutritious meals.  Early in the mornings, using local produce from friendly donors, foods are prepped and cooked by a team of volunteers to share with constituents in the division. Here is News Five’s Duane Moody.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Tens of thousands have lost their bread and butter as a result of COVID-19.  But even before the pandemic, there were also thousands without jobs and in need of pantry and/or financial support to provide for their households reflecting the economic state of affairs. And while the government is tasked with supplying relief during a time of crisis, there are persons taking on the mantle to help where they can in the Mesopotamia division of Belize City.


Candice Pitts

Dr. Candice Pitts, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Mesopotamia Division

“There is always this need for food. Even when you give people di rice and di beans and whatever else you put in your pantry, we take it for granted or we assume that there are people who have the wherewithal to cook their food. And there are some elderly people out there, who unfortunately are living on their own; there are other people who really don’t have the resources. One of the ways in which we are trying to help during this crisis is to provide food; at least one hot meal per day for the elderly and those most in need in Mesopotamia.”


Every day, for weeks now, at least five hundred plates of food are prepared and distributed across the division to the neediest of the needy; frontline workers, such as the police and healthcare workers, are also gifted a warm meal per day. A healthy and balanced food made from locally produced staples and home grown ingredients.

It is not much, but is what can be afforded at this time to support residents in the area. As early as six o’clock Iris Gonzalez is up with other committee members doing prep work to assist Chef Shannon Vernon with this soup kitchen.


Iris Gonzalez, Resident

“I like work and I like help people; that’s my thing. My son always tell me I want save the whole world; I wish I could, but I can’t. At the end of the day, we get up early; I try prepare from the day before to lessen the work on the chef. Me and he work together.”


Shannon Vernon

Shannon Vernon, Chef

“We try to do some much we can with what is donated like the soups and everything. We try to push the soups because it is healthier that way; it’s a lot more vegetables and we try to cut away from the carbs. We are providing all locally produced vegetables and the locally produced fish and chicken that we get is from the Feinstein’s and other donors.  We really try to push the health aspect of it because in this time of need you need to be as healthy as you can.”


Gonzalez and the others are not being compensated for the help they are providing and are giving from their heart. The Feinstein Group of Company and others, despite not living in the constituency, are inspired by the cause and have chipped in as the country continues to face this COVID-19 crisis.


Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez

“We have a lot of people that needs and wants. We try to reach out as possible as we can. Every time we ker out a lee grocery and share as much as we can with everybody. We can’t reach out to everyone, but as much as we can do, we do.”


Shannon Vernon, Chef

“During this time, I think, if you are able to help in any way you could, you should. It’s a very slow time cause there is not a lotta places hiring private chefs. I took the opportunity to come and I got invited by Miss Candice and Miss Melita to come and help out. Helping out these people has been heart-filling. What you see on TV and what you meet them in public is very different and you appreciate them more and more every day.”


Dr. Candice Pitts

“You don’t have to live in a community such as Mesopotamia to know that the people are in need to empathise and want to help them.”


While the soup kitchen was birthed out of the COVID-19 crisis, food is always a necessity.


Dr. Candice Pitts 

“We don’t know how long this crisis is going to persist, but as long as we are able to, we are willing to provide this kind of service to the residents and those who are in need. The donors really see the significance of such an initiative and so they have been investing in the project and as long as we have those sponsorships and support, we will continue projects such as this.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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