~ Launches elderly transportation service ~
PHILIPSBURG–One year and a month after hurricane Irma completely destroyed its office in Cole Bay, Helping Hands Foundation officially opened a new, more spacious and senior-friendly office at the Miss Lalie Commercial Complex on Bush Road on Friday.
The foundation also launched its elderly transportation service, which is designed to encourage independence, enhance the quality of life and promote social interaction amongst seniors in the community.
Unlike its former office, which was located on the upper floor of a building, the new office is located on the ground floor of the complex making it much more accessible and easier for seniors. The new office is equipped with a conference room and sufficient office space where foundation members can carry out their duties helping the elderly in the community.
The foundation moved into its new office in March of this year after operating from the office of its President Antonio Rogers for several months after losing its Cole Bay office during Irma.
As it relates to its transportation services, the foundation has six vehicles, three of which are used to transport seniors to various appointments such as to their doctor visits, therapy sessions, dialysis treatments; Alzheimer’s clinic, amongst other things. In the near future, it is the intention of the foundation to also transport seniors to do their grocery shopping. The foundation currently assists about 60 seniors in the community.
In brief remarks to attendees at the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin said enhancing the wellbeing and promoting respect, acceptance and appreciation of senior citizens in St. Maarten is the core mission statement on which the Helping Hands Foundation operates.
“It has been 21 years and counting since the Helping Hands Foundation embarked on this noble mission of serving senior citizens here on St. Maarten,” she said. “Your service of providing transportation to our senior citizens is not often recognised, but today I want to let you know that your efforts are truly appreciated, and I want to encourage you to keep up the great work that you have been doing over the years.”
The Prime Minister said she is especially honoured to be present at the ceremony where honour and tribute was bestowed on founder Lucille Jacqueline James, whom she presented with a plaque for her efforts over the years. “It is because of your vision some 21 years ago, that we have reached this milestone here today. I know that the journey must have been filled with peaks and valleys, but through perseverance, your vision has survived the test of time. I am hoping that with this new location, the Helping Hands Foundation will continue to operate for another 21 years of giving such a critical service to our community.”
She urged the staff to continue taking “good care” of their clients and give them the honour and respect they deserve. “With the launching of your new transportation service, I wish you much success and that hopefully for the youngsters amongst us, with God’s grace, one day each of us will reach senior citizen status and benefit from the service you provide,” she said.
Minister of Health, Labour and Social Affairs VSA Emil Lee said he was honoured to be present at the event. He said a country is usually judged by the manner in which it treats the less fortunate. He said the foundation provides a tremendous service to the community. He spoke about his own parents, both medical doctors in the United States, who are in their 80s and the challenges they themselves face as seniors and said he wished they had access to a service such as that provided by the Helping Hands Foundation.
Lee expressed hope that the foundation continues to grow, expand and develop and said his office was willing to facilitate and support the foundation in its endeavours.
Following the opening ceremony, guests were treated to snacks and beverages and enjoyed socialising amongst each other and touring the foundation’s new office.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/82035-helping-hands-opens-new-office-at-miss-lalie-center