ADRA Sint Maarten continued its COVID-19 response to the community by distributing one hundred ADRA Grow Bags. Silvanico Pauletta, the ADRA Sint Maarten Coordinator said, “The goal is to provide the less fortunate families an ADRA Grow Bag, containing vegetables, fruits and seedlings for 4 consecutive months, to encourage healthy eating habits and motivate them to be involved in growing their own produce for sustainability. The Grow Bag, which the recipient will use to plant, is intended to motivate them into starting their own kitchen garden. ADRA is seeking to develop sustainable, healthy lifestyle initiatives that will promote kitchen gardening and poverty alleviation.”
“The concept has special appeal to us in ADRA Sint Maarten as we believe that promoting kitchen gardens will help develop the community resilience on an island state where nearly all fresh produce is imported,” Silvanico Pauletta added.
“The initiative then caught international attention with its innovation,” said the ADRA Director of the North Caribbean Conference, Pastor Wilmoth James. “Now this splendid innovation, by ADRA, is intended to bring back sustainability to the economy that has been stressed since the COVID-19.”
Four months ago, one hundred families on Sint Maarten were the first beneficiaries of organically grown produce from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Sint Maarten (ADRA.SX). The initiative is intended to encourage the community to grow what they eat. The bags of fresh produce were grown by Sint Maarten Fisheries N.V., local farmers and imported from the neighboring Dominica. Sint Maarten Fisheries N.V., is a local organic vegetable and fruit farm with which ADRA partners to provide healthy food for families. ADRA collaborated with Mr. Khalil Revan, of Grote Markt on Sint Maarten to source the produce. ADRA then enlisted community volunteers, such as members of the Pathfinder Club, to fill bags with pumpkins, sweet potatoes, yams, cucumbers and avocadoes, seasoning peppers, water melon, carrots and other fresh produce. The distribution was done in collaboration with the Adventist Community Services Federation of Sint Maarten. Deliveries were made to families selected from nine Adventist churches, the Sint Maarten Seventh-day Adventist School and the community of Sint Maarten.
The ADRA Grow Bag project is the first project for ADRA Sint Maarten since it became an official foundation in June, 2020. ADRA will continue to provide assistance to those affected by the pandemic. Local churches support the community and the work of ADRA by distributing supplies to families in surrounding neighborhoods. Since this project ADRA has received numerous requests from potential beneficiaries to be added to the program. ADRA is presently seeking funds to expand the project.