October 28, 2020

Acts of kindness just keep on growing

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ARK members listen attentively at an ARK presentation

After five years of existence Cayman’s ARK, (which stands for Acts of Random Kindness), a local charity, has touched thousands of lives both in Cayman and abroad.

The group has recently been undergoing a process of restructuring, so that they can better accommodate their growing influence. The changes were recently announced at a special ARK luncheon, attended by
40 members.

ARK began by a group of ladies who got together for lunch dates in local restaurants, as a social event. One of them had the idea of putting their friendship to a good cause by saving their restaurant money and having dinner in each other’s homes instead – and from that time on ARK was born.

The group at first met once a month, and each member would take it in turns to give a presentation on a pressing local need that had come to their attention.

Things began taking off, with companies getting involved. Now the ARK has nearly 200 members, and is growing all the time.

One of ARK’s founding members, Tara Nielsen said: “There are two main ways that ARK makes an impact. The first way is to identify, and help families in severe circumstance of crisis, such as when a serious illness strikes. We can help with paying for medical equipment, expenses or the price of flights for medical treatment.

“The second thing we do routinely is care for those people locally who have fallen through the cracks of society, and have no other means of support, that is, family, spouse, government agencies, employment, or insurance. We do not help people already being helped by social security.”

The ARK pantry is one of several ongoing projects ARK has put in place to reach people in the community who are finding it difficult to make ends meet, by filling up blue bags with food and other essential items, and contributing food vouchers.

The Pantry project has been supported by local companies, such as Aon who have mobilised their staff to contribute food at regular intervals, and Deutsche Bank recently made a very generous donation of CI$20,000, Ms Nielsen said.

ARK founding member, Tara Nielsen, explained some of the restructuring changes at a recent member’s luncheon meeting

Explaining how the Pantry project works, ARK founding member Tara Nielsen said:

“We stockpile food, and families that we assess through home visits and by building up relationships in the community, if they qualify, will receive up to 3 months at a time.”

During their Christmas-time drive, the project, dubbed Giving is Receiving managed to reach 150 local families with food, and toys too. “Each family received an average of ten bags filled with food and other items, and got between CI$30 and CI$150 in vouchers,” Ms. Nielsen said.

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