As your plane approaches the airstrip in St. Maarten – a small island 186 miles east of Puerto Rico – you get a clear view of luxury hotels with outdoor pools and gazebos overlooking the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. St. Maarten is a tourist attraction known for its hundreds of gourmet restaurants. But as you can guess, Cross Catholic didn’t go there just to sample the cuisine.
A brief excursion beyond the hotels and tourist traps took us to places never advertised in the glossy brochures. At one poor family’s dilapidated home, we found the front door unhinged and lying on the ground, exposing the inside to the elements and revealing a refrigerator being used, not for groceries, but as a storage closet. Either they couldn’t afford food or their electric bill, or possibly both.
Poverty often lurks in surprising places where you’d never think to look. That’s why we’re so thankful for friends like Fr. Bob Johnson, our ministry partner in St. Maarten who has opened our eyes to the hidden needs in his parish. Cross Catholic is helping Fr. Bob provide food baskets for needy families living in the forgotten side of paradise.
A bird’s eye view of St. Maarten from an arriving plane
Tourists are unaware of the poverty just a short drive away from their hotels