Locals hold fund-raiser for Saint Martin

Dozens of Brooklynites came to support a fund-raiser for the island of Saint-Martin at the Island to Island Brewery in Prospect Lefferts Gardens on Nov. 11. The “Push 4 Ten” event organized by the St. Maarten Strong Coalition helped raise money and supplies for families affected by Hurricane Irma. It was also a chance to shine a light on the dire needs of residents on the island and other neighboring countries, said an organizer of the event.

“Our mission is to bring attention to not only Saint Martin, but also to the smaller Caribbean islands that are struggling, because a lot of families no longer have homes and will have to start from scratch and we need to help them,” said Syrah Scott, co-founder of the group.

The aim of the event was to fill 10 barrels with clothing, food, and other necessities, and they were able to fill several and raised more than $1,000.

Saint Martin consists of two French and Dutch overseas territories, Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten respectively. Scott who has family on both sides, says the entire island is facing a food insecurity and other widespread issues. And their goal is to promptly assist.

“Saint Martin needs food — they are struggling because a lot of food pantry’s are dry and the storages that hold food are destroyed,” she said. “Food can only go directly to the homes but a lot of homes have no roof, no running water, and no electricity.”

Many of the attendees contributed material and monetary donations, and others came to display an artistic show of solidarity, said one woman who commissioned a Mother Nature costume.

“I wanted to highlight the image of Saint Martin and its beauty,” said Patricia Ramos.

Ramos was colorfully adorned in her dress, and says her idea for it was inspired by what she hopes for the island’s recovery.

“We have no control over mother nature but she is beautiful and we’d like her to restore that beauty, and bring back the flowers, the trees, insects, and birds to the beautiful island.”

The group is also looking to appeal to tourists who frequently visit and invest on the island.

“80 percent of the island is run by tourism and if it’s not rebuilt, how will the island be sustained?,” said Scott. “We know a lot of people who go and visit their timeshares in Saint Martin, and we are actually finding a lot of those people and creating more awareness.”

Scott says the organization is also working with local and domestic sponsors such as clergy from Christian Cultural Center, and The Water Initiative, to help provide and restore water for households.

Donations can be made to support the St. Maarten Strong Coalition online at or at the following drop-off locations:

•Faith Mission Christian Fellowship Church [160 W. 129th St. between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Malcolm X boulevards in Manhattan, (212) 662-3661].

•The Church of God 7th Day Pentecostal [922 St. Marks Ave. between Kingston and Albany avenues in Brooklyn, (718) 221-9718].

•Crown Heights Community Mediation Center [250 Kingston Ave. between St. John’s and Lincoln places in Brooklyn, (718) 619-4248].

•Flowers Fyzical Therapy [219-10 South Conduit Ave. between Springfield boulevard and 221st Street in Queens, (718) 525-8109].

•Healthy Choice [1780 Madison Ave. between E. 116th and E. 117th streets in Manhattan, (646) 928-4848].

•Christian Cultural Center [12020 Flatlands Ave. between Louisiana and Pennsylvania avenues in Brooklyn. (718) 306-1000].

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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