April 2, 2019 | Mount Scenery, Saba, | NCC Staff/IAD News Staff
Members of the Mount Scenery Seventh-day Adventist Church on the Caribbean island of Saba recently distributed 33 brand new bicycles to a group of children and young people from needy communities during a special event.
The new bicycles, complete with helmets, gloves, lights, and water-bottle holders, were distributed as part of a project proposed by church members responding to the Dutch government’s anti-poverty initiative. Saba is officially a “public body” of The Netherlands.
Before the eager children and young people received their new bikes on Mar. 10, they listened to bicycle safety tips and were informed by representatives from the social domain of the public entity Saba on cycling activities around the island.
Months before, as the representatives from Holland made their visit to the various islands, non-profit organizations on the island were asked to apply for special funds in support of projects to impact the community on Saba, said Mervin Alexander, church elder of the Mount Scenery Adventist Church.
“Many of the other organizations were already giving out food baskets and meals at schools and after-school care facilities, but since I play soccer with many of the youth, I realized many did not have bicycles, so the church decided to tackle the bikes as our project,” said Alexander.
Bicycles would allow young people to ride to after-school programs and activities for them, he added.
In addition, there are many triathlons that take place on the island and many cyclists travel from afar to compete. However, many residents of Saba are not able to participate, explained Alexander. “We wanted to change that so providing the bikes would allow for that opportunity.”
Joining with the Department of Youth and Family on the island, which seeks to help improve the quality of families, socially, economically and physically, church leaders sought those who were in need of a bicycle throughout underprivileged communities.
“I was very much impressed by the excitement of the kids,” said Ann Leter-Lake, a church member who also helped coordinate the project.
Alexander, Leter-Lake, Tessa Alexander and Dozlyn Pouchie carried out the logistics of transporting the new bicycles and gear from the neighboring island of St. Maarten.
“You could see that the youth and their parents were very excited,” said Alexander. “Some children expressed that they never owned a bike before and were very pleased to receive one.”
“As a church, we have been called by our Savior to share our resources so a difference can be made in our communities,” said Alexander. “The Mount Scenery Adventist Church worked very hard to make this event special and unique for the boys and girls of Saba.”
An additional project is planned in the coming weeks, said Alexander, one that promises to reach far more in the community.
Saba is 13 square kilometers long and has a population of 2,500. The Mount Scenery Adventist Church has 20 members.