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Augustus heads up Eliza DoLittle Society

  • Wealth of experience: April Augustus worked for a decade in New York tackling housing issues and domestic violence (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

A woman who spent more than a decade working with New York’s underprivileged is the new head of a Bermuda charity that provides food for the disadvantaged.

April Augustus, the executive director of the Eliza DoLittle Society, said the queues she saw outside the charity’s headquarters in Warwick represented a fraction of the need on the island.

Ms Augustus added: “We serve anyone having hardship, not only the homeless. It’s all of Bermuda; no one gets turned away if they are in need.”

She said about 80 people had been helped on one day alone last week.

But Ms Augustus said: “That doesn’t count families. One person may come in to pick up food for a family of five.”

She added: “I would love for us to expand, but right now our focus is on our food bank. It’s always about giving as much support to the community as possible.”

Ms Augustus started her career with Safe Horizon, a New York charity set up to help domestic violence victims.

She said: “I wanted to volunteer and they ended up hiring me.”

With a focus on emergency housing and domestic violence, Ms Augustus worked for a decade in the city in the areas of emergency housing and domestic violence.

Ms Augustus said: “I was in New York all my life, and always worked in non-profits. I’ve always had a passion for helping others.”

She added that she would always remember “the rewarding experience of the first shelter I ran — it was small but we were dealing with women who were mentally ill and also had substance abuse issues”.

Ms Augustus also worked with the police to run a domestic violence support programme that covered five precincts in the Bronx, one of the most densely populated of New York’s five boroughs.

Kendaree Burgess, chairwoman of the society, said Ms Augustus, who is married to a Bermudian, brought “a wealth of experience” to the role of executive director.

The charity said seniors made up an estimated 35 per cent of its clients, and 65 per cent of regulars are believed to be unemployed.

Ms Augustus added: “Our mission is to provide health and nutritious solutions to the food insecure in Bermuda with the aim of enhancing their quality of life.

“My next move will be getting out there and meeting with potential donors and letting people know that we are here for them.

“We are not just for the homeless — I don’t want potential clients to be deterred. We are here for everyone that is food insecure.”

Ms Augustus took over the job from Jennifer Mahoney, who became executive director in February 2017.