ACHIEVING food security for all is at the heart of efforts by the United Nations, the Caribbean Community, and indeed, St. Lucia. The phrase ‘food security’ may have been used by the new Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Alfred Prospere, more than a hundred times.
But what exactly is food security? Simply put, food security means: Access to or availability of quality, nutritious foods by all; and the ability to purchase those foods which are needed for survival.
No one can doubt that Massy Stores have played a pivotal role in bringing food to our people in St. Lucia.
Indeed, what are the innate values reflected by some 1300 staff members in St. Lucia? The values are Honesty and Integrity, Love and Care, Growth and Continuous Improvement, Responsibility, Collaboration and Respect. Very Powerful and meaningful commitments!
Let me take the opportunity to highlight areas of corporate and social responsibility of Massy Stores.
I am always heartened by the very wide range of food items available at Massy Supermarkets. When I have the time and I can walk through the aisles of the supermarkets, I am impressed with their variety which I see on the shelves. Massy matches up with all the supermarkets I have visited while in New York, a city which I know very well, having lived there for some time.
Not only that, the staff or team members on the floor are very courteous and helpful. Often when I have difficulty in locating an item on the shelves, I would ask “madam where can I get some cake wine?” Nine out of ten times the floor attendant, staffer or team member would stop what she is doing at the time and lead me to the exact place where I can find the item.
Very recently, I was at the Sunny Acres Supermarket and was in a pensive mood. A young lady quickly asked: “Sir, can I help you?” I indicated to her that I was fine. The point I wish to make here is that the staff member was very alert. And to be honest, that kind of behaviour is exhibited at all the Massy Supermarkets.
Massy Stores are making it possible to access the food items anywhere in St. Lucia. They are going out into the remote communities to ensure that the seniors can obtain the food items which they need at a lower cost. By that I mean they do not have to come to the Castries stores which would require increased transportation costs. They can save that money and lower the cost of their purchases. And the company provides all the bi-lateral services that are available at its city stores.
Their social responsibilities take them to several schools in St. Lucia. Very recently the Massy Volunteers Community Outreach teams implemented an impressive food donation programme at the Castries Methodist School. At this time of hardship inflected by COVID-19, parents and students themselves were very happy to receive those packages of food and school items. So it could be clearly seen that for Massy Stores, it’s not just about making profit but showing love, care and concern for the people of “Fair Helen”.
It would be remiss of me if I did not mention that Massy Volunteer teams also reach out to the Senior Citizen Homes. The St. Lucy’s Home, for example, has benefited immensely from donations of food from the Massy Stores Supermarkets. And I want to take the opportunity to thank Massy for their love and care for Street and Homeless people of St. Lucia.
In the heart of their social responsibility lies the work of the company in Agriculture and with farmers. Massy has been able to rally the St. Lucian farmers in a way that has never been done before. As a result, shoppers could find fresh, local fruits and vegetables, and, indeed, ground provisions. Certainly, there is a multiplier effect here. Farmers get a ready market, the foods become easily available, and there is money in circulation in the local economy.
Many civil society organizations are benefiting directly from financial contributions from Massy Stores. The St. Lucia Cancer Society and The St. Lucia Diabetes and Hypertension Association are organizations concerned with the Health and Wellness of the nation. As the vice President of the SLDHA, I want to take the opportunity to thank Massy Stores for the contribution it has made and continues to make to organizations concerned with the Health and Wellness of the nation and the SLDHA.
Other areas of Massy Focus are the environment, community and Culture. Some three year ago, Massy Stores across the region and, indeed, St. Lucia launched a significant environmental initiative to reduce the use of dingle plastic shopping bags offered at their stores. Instead, Massy has been promoting reusable bags as a shopping alternative.
After a heavy downpour in St. Lucia, it is amazingly incredible to see the number of plastic bags and bottles in our rivers and bays. The effort by Massy has resulted in the reduction of over 80 million plastic bags which would have been used for packaging groceries and ultimately dumped at our landfill. Reusable bags are now a normal part of the shopping. To be frank, I am at pains to get a plastic bag at home when I am in urgent need of a bag. It shows therefore, that Massy has done a fantastic job of getting rid of plastic bags in St. Lucia.
Massy is now encouraging and partnering with the Solid Waste Management Authority by supporting the public education programmes of the authority.
Massy also encourages composting which helps to keep food scraps and organic waste from the landfills in St. Lucia. What dynamism in business.
I am pleased with the Massy Stores Administration and Management in St. Lucia for affirming its corporate responsibility to the people of St. Lucia, and generations to come, through its ardent and vigorous support of the people of St. Lucia.
In the business community today, many profess to put customers first in their ads, however, MASSY the MASTERS put people first. Whether you are a customer or not, their efforts rub-off on you!