ANGUILLA — After almost four months of no funding, the AXA CARES ANGUILLA FOODBANK restarted Wednesday, sending out over 120 care packages to every district of the island, just on time for the holidays.

The group’s 2021 Giving Tuesday fundraising drive raised $10,505.  Foodbank volunteers set a Go Fund Me fundraising goal of $5,000 – and hit it in just 8 hours.  “We were overwhelmed by people’s generosity,” said Blondell Rodgiers, Food Bank Founder and Co-ordinator.  “We still had the whole weekend and Monday to go before Giving Tuesday, so we decided to just go for it: we announced we were going to try to double down.”

Rodgiers and Dedria Bradshaw, a volunteer with the Food Bank since 2012,  enlisted the help of some neighbours when they watched nearly three months go by with no donations.  Amie Colquhoun, Linda Coppede and Angela Lampe joined in immediately, creating the Go Fund Me page, re-activating the Facebook Page, and spreading the word.

“Everyone understands the urgency of not having enough food to feed your families,” said Colquhoun.  “When Dedria told me their clients included a family of six living in a car, my heart just broke.  Hurricanes happen. Pandemics happen.  Life happens.  Like so many people, I have been the recipient of extraordinary acts of kindness since arriving in Anguilla last year.  Everyone wants to help if they can.”

The group isn’t done yet.  Their next goal is to set up a subscription fundraising model where people can subscribe to support a family or an entire distribution district.

“We reached out to members of the Anguilla community, tourist sites, local businesses, family and friends . . . more than 55 donors, from as far away as the Philippines, contributed to the cause.  People really want to help, we just need to make it easy for them to give.  And we need to create a sustainable funding source for the Food Bank going forward,” said Coppede.

People can watch the AXA Cares food bank page for updates on the program as it unfolds, and to reach out with donations or other assistance.  Meanwhile, the Food Bank volunteers had a wonderful time prepping the deliveries December 15th.  “We really want to make it a special Christmas for our families,” said Rodgiers.  “This is still so unbelievable.”