Minister Lee congratulates Red Cross on their parallel launch of their food voucher program. We are thankful for their coordinated effort to support and expand on Government’s Basic Necessities Voucher Program. These two programs allow persons who have experienced a serious financial setback as a consequence of the impact of the recent hurricanes to receive a voucher valued at NAF 150.- that can be redeemed at participating supermarkets - Le Grande Marche, Prime Distributors, Sang’s Supermarket, and Sunny Foods. Vouchers can be used to purchase basic necessities which include food, water, hygiene and sanitation products excluding tobacco and alcohol products at participating retailers. A family of one or two persons can apply for one voucher and larger families can receive two. Eligible families will receive voucher(s) every two weeks depending on if their situation has changed.
Those who wish to apply for the Government program are advised to report to the new Government Building on Pond Island at the Social Services Department Monday –Friday between 8.30 AM and 12 NOON. While the Government Program is based on an application and interview process, the Red Cross program is based more on community assessments by the Red Cross staff in collaboration with community councils/leaders. The Ministry of VSA is pleased with this because it compliments Government’s approach and allows for better penetration into the different neighborhoods.
Other donors such as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) have also expressed their willingness to cooperate in the program. Once the agreement has been finalized, this will allow an additional $164,000 to be spent on the program.
“The cooperation and collaboration with international and local agencies has been extremely helpful and we are gracious for their generosity. We believe that developing transparent and auditable programs are essential to attracting other donors who wish to participate and contribute to St. Maarten’s recovery efforts,” stated Minister Lee.