Trinidad giving away vouchers for 10,000 pizzas in flooded communities

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — Forget canned goods. The government of Trinidad is feeding flood victims with pizza.

Officials on Friday began distributing 10,000 vouchers for the national chain Mario's Pizzeria to poor communities hit by flooding this week.

"It is for the poor and needy," Social Development Minister Glenn Ramasharsingh said. "It's heart-wrenching to see babies in the arms of mothers who have no homes to go to and don't know where the next meal is coming from."

Together with private-sector donations, the government is funding the $84,000 cost of buying the ingredients and boxes.

Mario's will also foot part of the bill.

"We are simply showing appreciation to the citizens who have supported the company for the past 30 years," said Richard Harford, managing director of Mario's.

Heavy rains that pounded the flat central and southern parts of the island have left dozens of people homeless and affected thousands more.

Previous flood response efforts have focused on donations of canned goods and other essentials.