Members of the St. Peter’s Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sint Maarten give a specially packaged food box to assist a resident who has been affected by the lockdown on the island. The church  helped 49 individuals who had lost their job to help feed their families. [Photo: Julien Grell]

June 26, 2020 | St. Croix, US Virgin Islands | NCC Staff / IAD News Staff

Members of the St. Peter’s Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sint Maarten recently sought out the most needy members in their congregation and residents of the surrounding community to assist with food and care packages as the pandemic crisis lingers.

The flight restrictions put in place on the island have resulted in the decline of tourism, which has drastically affected economic activity and put hundreds out of work. So the church moved quickly to collect items and distribute them to more than 49 families.

Thanks to one of the local supermarkets which partnered with the church by discounting items needed for the food distribution initiative, and funds collected during the church’s annual ingathering campaign, many families were blessed by food boxes shared on June 6, 2020.

Adventist Community Services volunteers from the St. Peter’s Adventist Church in St. Maarten stand next to four community residents during this month’s food distribution to help those affected by the pandemic crisis. [Photo: Julien Grell]

The church’s Community Services department helped with the food distribution and assisted with the preparation and packaging, explained Charlotte Jacob, a member of the St. Peter’s Adventist Church in charge of the initiative.

So many people were grateful, explained Mrs. Jacob. “One of the recipients said that she was grateful for the food box as she is a single mother of three and expressed the desire to come to church,” said Jacob. “Another told us that she was out of work since April and was in financial need and that the help was God sent.”

Mrs. Jacob said that “the safety and well-being of volunteers and recipients were of utmost importance and government regulations related to face-coverings, sanitizing, crowd management and physical distancing were followed during the distribution.”

A cell phone text group was created to keep connected with the needy families assisted, especially the non-members as the church continues to minister during the pandemic with funds that become available, added Jacob.

Volunteers from the St. Peter’s Adventist Church package dozens of food boxes to help needy families in St. Maarten. [Photo: Virgil Sams]

Plans are to soon teach sewing classes and other skills to persons who are presently unemployed.  “We want them to learn a trade and be able to be self-employed,” Jacob said.

Additional assistance is being planned for hot meals to be delivered throughout the community soon.

Pastor Virgil Sams, the leader of the congregation, stated, “As a church, we are committed to utilizing our resources in meeting the needs of the diverse ethnic and socio-economic groups, represented in the community.”

It’s all about genuine care and compassion for others, said Sams. “Our mission is rooted in the unconditional love of God for everyone which includes both outreach and nurture.”

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