Our local reporter went to visit the headquarters of Aruba’s food bank, Fundacion Pa Nos Comunidad, situated in the Club Kibrahacha, where they were busy preparing around 300 schoolbags to hand out to underprivileged children. This year they have less schoolbags than previous years, according to the foundation, but that doesn’t stop them from working tirelessly to help the community.
Gianaika van der Biezen, director of the foundation, explained to our reporter that Fundacion Pa Nos Comunidad has been organizing a ‘Back to School’ project for twelve years already, together with radio station Caliente FM, which consists of organizing a Radiothon and connecting with local businesses as well as the whole community in order to help underprivileged children to start school with a new backpack and all the necessary materials.
Mrs. Van der Biezen said to our reporter that to be honest, this year they had less schoolbags than usual. “Normally we have a larger amount”, Mrs. Van der Biezen said, adding: “There are also many other institutions who are also busy with Back to School projects, with two of them I was able to do a matching-list. Those are Mi Bos ta Bo Bos (My Voice is Your Voice), and also Interact Club of Aruba.”
A marching-list is made in order to avoid for example that one child receives two bags and another is left without, because the lists of recipients can get quite long.
The foundation takes the clients who are register, or active and inactive clients who receive packages, but that the foundation is aware are going through hardship, to give them a hand. The foundation does an intake in order to evaluate the financial situation to see if it is difficult for the parents to purchase school items. Primarily the focus is on the backpack with some items in it, and there are some children – a very small amount – who manage to get a school uniform for this school year, that the foundation can help with.
“It’s true that in the past there was more help with this, because I remember that there were years where we would hand out more than 400, almost 500 schoolbags. For sure two years ago we received schoolbags from abroad, we had more businesses taking part, but I see that also there are other institutions busy with this and I think this is one of the reasons why the amount decreased with us”, Mrs. Van der Biezen explains.
This year, the foundation commented that it is noticeable how the community has been financially affected, that they noticed how for example, Fundacion pa Nos Comunidad through Caliente FM received less than they did other years. They received some donations from Dijon Center, and according to the foundation, thankfully they were able to receive various donations from people who came to them and brought these donations. From Caliente FM they received more than 100 schoolbags. From Interact Club of Aruba they also received some donations, and Digicel also collaborated with school items for the kids.
For the clients who are registered at the foundation and already have all their information registered, they go easily through the process. And for those who are not clients of the foundation, the foundation carries out a financial review with them to see if they are eligible. But there were also clients for example who are already receiving a food package, but their situation is still difficult. So the foundation works hard for active, non-active and new clients.
For the Back to School project, they had a lot of work on their hands. They have some volunteers who join them working long hours and days in order to get everything ready, to deliver everything on time so that all these children can have their items to begin the new school year with everything they need.
The value of all those who make a donation is a great contribution to the success of the foundation. With the community’s generosity, Fundacion Pa Nos Comunidad is able to continue helping families in need on our island.
The foundation finds it important to remind the community that with your contribution to the foundation, you encourage and bring hope to many homes that are going through difficult financial situations currently. Three words describe this foundation: hope, care and encouragement, and together these words are applied to the social service provided to the clients.