KRALENDIJK- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has developed and is currently carrying out a humanitarian project on the island of Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean.
The project “Bebis di Boneiru” (Babies of Bonaire) is a project which benefits patrons of Voedselbank Bonaire, which is a charity that provides free food to people who can hardly make ends meet. Once a month, the volunteers of the Food Bank Bonaire distribute packages with food to the less fortunate on the island. These packages mainly consist of shelf-stable food (pasta, rice, beans, etc.), but also may contain cleaning products and personal hygiene products, if available. Occasionally, they are supplemented with fresh products, such as eggs, bread or cheese.
The senior missionaries serving on Bonaire, Elder Brian and Sister Tracy Ridd from Ivins, Utah, do monthly volunteer work with Voedselbank Bonaire. Through talking with Ms. Ann Leong, a lead volunteer at the food bank, and Maarten Caljouw, President of Voedselbank Bonaire, the Ridds discovered there is a great need for baby formula. Additionally, all sizes of baby diapers and pull-ups are needed badly on the island, as they are hardly ever donated. Other baby items such as jarred baby food and baby wipes are also in demand.
Besides the needed baby items, the food bank had limited storage and shelving areas. One small shelf is what they were using, but they needed more shelving to hold the bags and bulk products/food for distribution. Through the Church’s donation, they were able to construct 8 new sturdy wooden shelving units which encircle the entire storage facility’s interior. They were also able to extend the packing tables, which provides more room for packing the monthly bags.
The Church has provided $18,000.00 to facilitate this project, and will continue to donate needed baby items monthly throughout the remainder of 2023 and into 2024, until the grant has expired (estimated completion: June 2024).
“Philip Winkel, Manager of Supermarket Warehouse Bonaire has greatly assisted both the Church and Voedselbank in the charitable endeavor, providing a discount on all items bought at Warehouse. This has been a tremendous help and savings for all parties involved”, according to Elder Brian and Sister Tracy Ridd.