As Thanksgiving Approaches, a Little Kindness Goes a Long Way for At-Risk Kids in Saint Martin

Many people across the United States will be traveling this week for Thanksgiving celebrations with family and friends. They’ll be sitting down to tables overflowing with delicious food, a bounty to be thankful for, undoubtedly.

Many in our country are blessed to be able to enjoy certain things that others in the world can only hope for. Simple things, like reliable electricity, clean water from a tap directly in our homes, and a roof over our heads, are all things that become so easy to take for granted.

This Thanksgiving it’s different though. Granted, every year me and my family are always thankful for all that we have, but this year is really like no other. For me, personally, I’ve never been so close to another place as I feel I am now to Saint Martin.

Truth be told, I’ve mentally spent so much more time in St. Martin since Irma hit than I ever did before. And it’s not even close, even though I haven’t physically been there since.

You’ve likely noticed that SXM Strong has partnered with SXM Angie over the last few weeks. I couldn’t help but notice how actively she was posting on Facebook about people and places on St. Martin as they work to rebuild their lives following Irma. And right now, active help is what the people and communities on St. Martin need the most.

A couple weeks ago, Angie posted (see posts below) about a community center in the French Quarter, a place that most tourists drive through on their way to Orient Beach, Grand Case, Pinel Island or Anse Marcel. There’s a chance you’ve stopped at the wonderful little French bakery called Le Fruit à Pains Boulangerie on the corner of Rue de Coralita, just as you turn right towards Orient Bay.

The community center, Les Explorateurs, is run by a 73 year-old woman named Georgina, who’s been doing this since 1995. The center is a place where from 70 to 100 at-risk kids from the ages of 6 to 20 years old come after school in the afternoon to play, learn, eat, and be comforted under the watchful and loving eye of Ms. Georgina. Before the storm, they made due with what they had, which was enough to keep the kids safe and engaged. Of course Irma changed all of that.

Now, they are in need. They have their lives, and for that they are eternally thankful. But they need help to get back to where they were before Irma hit. And that is what I’m hoping you will help with.

Angie worked with Ms. Georgina to compile a list of items — a wishlist — that this community center needs. I’m asking you to look at the list and, if you can, make a donation of an item or items. If you want, you can donate cash too. Any and every thing helps.

SXM Strong will make a cash donation to match all donations made up to $250. So when you donate $20, it’s really $40. This money will go directly to the community center to help them buy furniture, clothes, toys, computers, food and much more. We will post updates on SXM Strong with pictures once the donations arrive.

Here is a link to the Amazon wishlist*

*All items should be sent to Miami and will be shipped from there to the island by us. The address should be autofilled on the Amazon wishlist but if not, it is:

Thomas Preuss (SXM)
4426 NW 74th Ave
c/o Interline
Miami, FL

We’ll update the list as items get purchased or if more items need to be added. Items such as computers and furniture will be purchased with cash on the island, to the extent that pricing is comparable to off-island pricing. You can make a cash donation below. 

Here is a link to donate cash*

*This link will take you to the SXM Strong fundraiser page. On this page you can donate cash directly for this cause. Since the SXM Strong fundraiser is run through Custom Ink, you will also have the option to purchase an SXM Strong shirt with all proceeds going to the community center. Please be sure to mention the community center if that is where you’d like your donation to go. 

If you have any questions you can send me a message here and I’ll respond within an hour or two.

Please help rebuild SXM and give today. Click here to visit the SXM Strong donate page. Thank you!

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Jon Ferlise

I fell in love with the island of Saint Martin the first time I visited to celebrate my 40th birthday in May of 2009. Since then, I've spent most birthdays there, and have visited countless other times getting to know this wonderful place and the friendly locals that make it so special. I adore the culture, the people, the community, and the beauty of this stunning island. SXM Strong is a website that I started to support humanitarian relief efforts following Hurricane Irma. There was no plan, it just evolved as I witnessed the devastation that Irma caused the island and the huge need to communicate and disseminate information about what had happened and how people could help support this island and its people.

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