Signing Ceremony – Memorandum of Understanding – Feed Our Families Initiatives

Poverty knows no name, it knows no ethnicity, it doesn’t differentiate between nationalities, it doesn’t recognize your country of birth, and many times than not – the inability to gain means to access food is the very first sign that poverty has ‘ come-home’. Right here, in Paradise!
Mrs. Peggy-Ann Dros-Richardson, Head of Labor Affairs & Acting Head Social Services , stated that it was the wish of our late colleague , Ms. Patricia Pantophlet, that we reach out and assist those less fortunate. From this wish, I was able to encourage team members to join me in a ‘ Food in the Box’ Program, whereby each month they commit to donate 1 or more non-perishable goods in a designated box at the Department. The response last month was overwhelming, and three (3) families received a box each , enough to feed a family of 4 – 6 persons!
With this in mind, a meeting was held in October, to bring forward the idea of ‘ Feed our Families ‘ with major food suppliers in Sint Maarten, and today, after long , tireless hours by the Social Workers , Ms. Jacqueline Wilson, Mrs. Rachel Doorson-Gefferie, and Ms. Gisella Hilliman, we are ready to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with Mr. Danny Ramchandani of Prime Distributors, Mr. Anil Sabnani of Le Grande Marche Group of Companies, Mr. Andre Dijkhoffz of Bimaco NV and Mr. Steven Huang of Sunny Foods. It goes 2 without saying , that without their cooperation and willingness to commit, this would not have been possible today. We are grateful.

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The Feed our Families Initiative includes a dual trajectory, with donations to be made to the Bishop Ellis Foundation as well as the New Testament Baptist Church Soup Kitchen- long standing organizations who have proven to ‘ stay the course’ through thick and thin, as well as families identified by the Social Workers.
The procedure calls for families to report on a monthly basis to the Department of Social Services to have their ‘ food card’ stamped and to at the point of collection at the designated Supermarket , also have the card stamped. Participants in this initiative will be closely monitored by the Social Workers, and the Department of Social Services extends on going long term care for the most vulnerable in our society.
Stakeholders present praised the initiative, and lauded the Department for its efforts to structure this in such a way that the aid goes to those who need it most.
Mrs. Dros-Richardson furthermore stated that– for the second year in a row – the NO GIFT POLICY is in full force for both the Department of Labor Affairs and Department of Social Services. Our employees are paid to work diligently, and do not expect and will not accept any form of gratitude that goes beyond the verbal expression of ‘ thank you’. Any business entity who wishes to show gratitude for services rendered , should do so by donating food items / gifts to many worthy NGOs / Foundations duly established on our island.