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The Helping Hands Foundation Congratulates the ELDERLY on INTERNATIONAL DAY of the ELDERLY<br />The Helping Hands Foundation provides transportation for the Elderly who are transported to several activities, both minor ones such as church, shopping, and health related activities such as doctor’s appointments and dialyses treatment.<br />The Foundation was started with the observation of Ms. Jacqueline James who understood that the elderly were in a lonely state. She took the initiative to provide transportation for the elderly who were ill, or those who could not provide transportation for themselves due to immobility (e.g. leg amputation due to diabetes). <br />Ms. James started this endeavor by using her own transportation. As the demand for this service grew, she involved more friends and volunteers. Subsequently this operation grew into the Helping Hands Foundation in 1997. <br /> <br />Currently the Foundation provides approximately over 400 trips average per month and serves 48 members. This number has almost doubled in the last three months and we have seen an increase in dialysis patients. The Foundation has seven (7) board members, three (3) drivers, one (1) coordinator and three (3) volunteers.<br /> <br />Its strengths are the goodwill of the coordinator who is also described as being passionate about the work with the elderly. The board is very supportive of the work and it comprises several expertise; current board members have professional expertise in finance, administration, and management. The Foundation has a team that works well together also. <br />(<br />A major challenge this foundation faces is the high gas prices, which is also its highest expense. which goes towards HHFvehicles and HHF has 2 vehicles. Another challenge is the lack of volunteers. It is difficult to find dependable volunteers. People volunteer for a few times and after that they drop out. Consequently financing is serious and continuous challenge. Currently the foundation receives funds from the government along with a grant from the AMFO. USONA has also contributed over the years and sponsored one of HHF busses<br />Over the years we have observed that the services that HHF provides to the elderly is a most necessary one and HHF would like to continue to provide these services. There are many areas that HHF would like to see improved such as: <br />The increase in subsidy; <br /> That special benefits are granted to the elderly; <br />That 60 plus cards are made available so that the elderly can enjoy reduction in various services and purchases as anywhere in the world.<br />That the pension is much more elevated so that pensioners have a better quality of life.<br /> <br />To provide a summary of activities this year the HHF was instrumental in ensuring that the elderly enjoyed the following activities through the assistance of the AMFO<br />Christmas lunch at Oyster Bay<br />Valentine’s day lunch<br />Mother Day baskets<br /> <br />Other Activities on a daily basis are taking the sick to the hospital, taking the elderly shopping, to the bank and any other activity that they would want to pursue. The Elderly are our HEART BEAT and must be cared for…We do this for them because we also expect someone to do this for us. <br />We express our thanks to the Government of St. Maarten for the subsidy the HHF has been receiving and We thank the AMFO for the funds received to carry out our projects. We thank pour sponsors who have kept us afloat over the years…We thank all the volunteers who have assisted us over the years and who have helped to bring HHF this far…our current staff under the leadership of Ms. Jacky James are incredible and we want you to know that we appreciate the work that they do on a daily basis taking care of the Elderly.<br />In future HHF looks towards to cooperation with other NGOs. However, the possible difficulty foreseen is that everyone likes to hold on to the ownership of the project and lose sight of the real issue: The ELDERLY. We must work together to achieve great things for the Elderly.<br />As we celebrate October 1, the International Day of the Elderly, established by the United Nations in 1990 for the Elderly to honor, respect, and care for the world’s elderly. Someday we all will be included among this group. We must not neglect the needs of the Elderly, it is the duty of our government to act and ensure that the elderly are taken care of. HHF looks forward to assist government in carrying out this most worthy task, which will eventually benefit all us at one point in our lives.<br /> <br />The Foundation for Helping Hands is supervised by a board consisting of the following persons: President, Josianne Fleming Artsen; Vice President, Felicia Thomas James; Treasurer, John Hodge; Secretary, Elvia Guy; Member, Hilda Bell. Executive staff member and Coordinator Ms. Lucille Jacqueline James; Drivers: Mr Erwin Leander Callender, Ms Valdora Angela Hazel, Mr William Albert Thomas and administrative assistant , Mrs Aretha Hermien Murielle James-Charlie.<br />The Helping Hands Foundation extends its appreciation to the Government of St. Maarten, USONA, AMFO and all our SPONSORS throughout the past years.<br />