Local Church in St.Maarten Hosts Community Food Drive
27 Jun 2020 | NCC Staff
n addition to efficient service and a government-mandated physical distancing set-up, persons who responded to a food-drive at the Cole Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church, on Dutch Sint Maarten, were met with courtesy and love.
Families have been struggling to cope with the emotional, mental and financial challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A community needs-assessment, performed prior to the food-drive launch, revealed the socio economic level of the community and allowed the task force to determine where to concentrate their efforts.
Under the leadership of Mrs. Denise Cornet, volunteers from the church’s Community Services Department and the church’s COVID-19 Task Force packed 125 hampers with canned and dry goods, beverages, produce, cleaners, personal care and other items. On June 15th and 16th, the hampers were distributed to persons from the surrounding communities. Many grateful recipients shared that the packages were a welcome relief to their families’ needs.
Pastor Virgil Sams, who leads the congregation, explained that the distribution was a compassionate response to a now-hurting community which, during times of prosperity, consistently contributed to the SDA Church’s annual Ingathering Campaign. Ingathering is a worldwide ministry and for about six weeks, each year, members ask the community to partner with the Church through monetary donations. These donations are, in turn, used in local communities for disaster relief and other humanitarian projects.
Pastor Sams said, “The purpose [of the food drive] was to help meet needs in our communities. [During] Ingathering to solicit financial support, the membership, which comprises a total of nine congregations on the Dutch side of the island, would usually go out to visit and pray for people in the community. We showcase the humanitarian work of the church and we leave Christian literature. The program is an outreach ministry with a difference.”
The pastor extended thanks to volunteers and contributors and encouraged them to keep giving. He also prayed for God’s continual blessings on businesses and organizations as they endeavor to positively impact the development of Sint Maarten. The management of Prime Distributors was highly commended for offering a volume discount which allowed the effort to be realized. Besides food distribution, the church is engaged in counseling, visiting the sick and elderly in their homes or in hospitals, and in nurturing community health.