The Ministry of Housing and Community Development is urging members of the public to beware of those moving around and selling the Veilomani Food Bank application forms at 20 cents each.
The Ministry is urging the public to be cautious and not to be victimized by such fraudulent activities. Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Housing and Community Development Sanjeeva Perera said application forms for the Food Bank initiative are free of charge and are issued only by the Ministry.
“The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) office used to issue these forms till last week but due to the large number of people gathering in front of the FCCC office in Lautoka in the last couple of days, we have decided to temporarily put it on hold,” Mr Perera said.
He added that the number of applications received has increased significantly. In the last week alone, the Food Bank team received over 1,400 applications with most of these applications received from the Western Division.
“Whilst there are families who genuinely need the assistance, there are also those who are trying to take advantage of the initiative. This is not an “assistance program for all” and therefore we request members of the public to be honest with themselves before lining up for assistance.”
“The aim of this initiative is to assist Fijians families who are genuinely struggling to put food on the table. We prioritize those who have completely lost their source of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those living in formal settlements,” stated Mr. Perera.
He also acknowledged the support received from various organizations, charities and communities. “This assistance is very much dependent on the generous donations given by members of the public and corporate organisations. Ministry officials on a voluntary basis give up their time after working hours and in the weekend to prepare and distribute the food packs. We are also grateful to FCCC officers in Lautoka for their continued assistance with distributions in the Western division,”
Mr Perera said. The Ministry has so far distributed 229 food packs since early May of this year and has distributed food packs to families living in Rakiraki, Suva, Lami, Nasinu, Daivulevu, Koronovia, Valelevu, HART residence in Newtown, Newtown squatter settlement, Waidamudamu, Muanivatu, Wailea and Nanuku settlements, Cunningham Stage 1, Khalsa Road, Waituvi, Makoi, Narere, Caubati, Nadawa, Vatuwaqa, Jittu Street, Lagilagi Housing and Waila.
The Veilomani Food Bank team thanks the British, New Zealand and Australian High Commissions, the American and Japanese Embassies, Asco Motors, Office of the Auditor General, the Fiji Development Bank, Leadership Fiji, other organisations and individuals who have come on board to assist affected Fijian families around the country.