Members of the Mount Scenery Seventh-day Adventist Church on the Caribbean island of Saba recently distributed 33 new bicycles to a group of children and young people from communities in need during a special event.
The new bicycles, complete with helmets, gloves, lights, and water-bottle holders, were distributed as part of a project proposed by church members responding to the Dutch government’s recent anti-poverty initiative. Saba is officially a “public body” of The Netherlands.
Before the children and young people received their new bikes on March 10, 2019, they listened to bicycle safety tips and were informed by representatives from the municipality of Saba on cycling activities around the island.
Months earlier, as representatives from The Netherlands made visits to the islands in its territory, non-profit organizations on the island were asked to apply for special funds in support of projects to impact the community on Saba, said Mervin Alexander, church elder of the Mount Scenery Adventist church.
“Many of the other organizations were already giving out food baskets and meals at schools and after-school care facilities, but since I play soccer with many of the youth, I realized many did not have bicycles, so the church decided to tackle the bikes as our project,” Alexander said.
Bicycles would allow young people to ride to after-school programs and activities for them, he added.
In addition, many triathlons take place on the island, and many cyclists travel from afar to compete. Without bicycles, many residents of Saba are not able to participate, Alexander explained. “We wanted to change that, so providing the bikes would allow for that opportunity.”
Joining with the Department of Youth and Family on the island, which seeks to help improve the quality of families socially, economically, and physically, church leaders found those who needed a bicycle throughout underprivileged communities.
“I was very much impressed by the excitement of the kids,” said Ann Leter-Lake, a church member who also helped coordinate the project.
Alexander, Leter-Lake, Tessa Alexander, and Dozlyn Pouchie carried out the logistics of transporting the new bicycles and gear from the neighboring island of St. Maarten.
“You could see that the youth and their parents were very excited,” Alexander said. “Some children expressed that they never owned a bike before and were very pleased to receive one.”
“As a church, we have been called by our Savior to share our resources so a difference can be made in our communities,” Alexander said. “The Mount Scenery Adventist church worked very hard to make this event special and unique for the boys and girls of Saba.”
An additional project is planned in the coming weeks, Alexander said, one that promises to reach far more into the community.
Saba is a 5-square-mile (13-square-kilometer) island with an estimated population of 2,500 people. The Mount Scenery Adventist church has 20 members.