The six-month extension of Foundation EGO’s Healthy Meal Project (see related story) is most welcome. It provides a daily meal for more than 300 youngsters in several afterschool programmes.
Most reside in households where adults work, so there is often nobody to look after them following their regular morning classes. These are usually not the highest-income families either.
The programmes collected parental fees to help cover the cost of food and related items, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic many clients lost all or part of their earnings and could no longer afford that. The project financed through “Samenwerkende Fondsen Cariben” makes it possible to keep their children enrolled to participate in extra educational activities as well as develop social skills.
A lot is being said these days about delinquency among teenagers, including students. However, much could be done at a younger age to positively influence their behaviour later, when that often becomes more difficult to say the least.
Besides, nutrition is key to learning, but also to a person’s growth and general wellbeing. The latter obviously goes for adults too.
Parliament’s Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Committee is set to discuss the coronavirus-related food assistance programme with Minister Omar Ottley today. It will be interesting to get an update on how the Dutch-funded effort is going since the local government via St. Maarten Development Foundation (SMDF) took over its coordination from the Netherlands Red Cross.
Make no mistake, this aid is still very necessary in large parts of the community. People can give up and sacrifice quite a bit, but not being able to put bread on the table when there are hungry mouths to feed.