ARTICLE: The Sweet Taste of Giving Pt. 1 (How 3 Food-Related Companies are helping to build a better Trinidad & Tobago)

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Fresh Start Limited, Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Gillian Goddard & Sun Eaters Organics – 3 companies that are helping to build a better Trinidad & Tobago. 

Late last year, when The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) published its 2014 findings of the most charitable countries in the world, like many Trinbagonians I was surprised to learn that our small island nation had ranked 10th globally!

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A photo posted by Campbell X (@campbellx) on Nov 19, 2014 at 7:38am PST

At first I wondered how that ranking was derived. Negative national headlines and a mindset that saw charity primarily in a light of grand gestures made me wary at first. Then I read that one of the primary questions was “Have you helpd a stranger in the past month?”. Just looking at my own behaviour, and the actions of those around me made me re-examine and re-interpret not just charity, but the intrinsic character of our society.

Like many Trinbagonians, I reflexively give at the supermarket checkout line to the overflowing donation tins that collect loose change. Everyone knows or encounters someone who is raising money through a bake sale, barbecue, curry-q, walkathon, raffle, or other ticketed event on a regular basis. Maybe it’s a stranger who wants some money for food or a taxi. Whether the connection is familial, friendly, or entirely random in nature, most of us are moved to give, even if $5 or $10 is all we have to spare.

NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) and the volunteers that are their engines tirelessly work throughout the year, addressing the needs of our society that may otherwise go unaddressed, but what about the corporate world?

Rightly or wrongly, the local business community is often viewed in a negative light by those who think they don’t do enough to ‘give back’ or to support the work of the NGOs that often operate on shoestring budgets.

Although I am certain that there is more that can be done, and should be done, I also had gotten inklings in the past two years that more was being done by some of the food-related businesses that I had come into contact with, on a charitable level, than the public was being made aware of. If this was true of a few, maybe there were more?

I started to inquire and investigate a little deeper and in doing so uncovered three companies, who though wildly divergent in size and focus, have each found ways to do their part in building a better Trinidad & Tobago. I’ll be sharing their stories with you this month and I hope that they will inspire you in some small way, as they did me.

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