SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) has a new partner on its journey to helping those affected by the passing of hurricane Irma. Joining SMDF’s Home Repair Program is Milano Diamond Gallery.
When it opened its newest store at the Port of St. Maarten, Milano Diamond Gallery set out to cement itself on St. Maarten in a unique way. At the Grand Opening of its Port location, the jewelry retailer hosted a silent auction to benefit those impacted by the passing of hurricane Irma. Having dozens of items, including dinners, hotel stays, cruises, leather goods and jewelry up for bids, the evening was all about charitable giving.
With generous shoppers donating to the cause throughout the evening and the retailer making donations of its own, Milano Diamond Gallery raised thousands of dollars for home repair projects. With the funds raised and ready to be put to use, the worked with the Dutch Quarter Community Council and the Community Collective South Reward to identify persons in those communities who were in need of assistance. With the persons identified by the community organizations, SMDF committed itself to managing the funds raised and executing the project.
Putting its commitment to the community first, Milano Diamond Gallery donated 100% of the funds raised during its silent auction. SMDF has in turn committed the full amount to the repairing of the six selected homes. With the repair works tendered and won by Elite Development, began this week at homes in South Reward.
“From the onset, we wanted to use our store opening as an opportunity to give back,” said Milano Diamond Gallery Regional Manager Vick Makhija. “We are happy to be able to work with the community organizations and SMDF to help those still recovering from the hurricane,” he continued.
For SMDF, having more partners means more home repair projects can be done. “St. Maarten is still recovering. There are still hundreds of people living in uncomfortable and unsafe circumstances and for this reason our work is not done,” said SMDF Program and Development Manager Makhicia Brooks. “Through partnerships such as this one with Milano Diamond Gallery, we’re able to continue our works throughout St. Maarten,” Brooks concluded.
Since the passing of hurricane Irma, SMDF has executed repairs to 80 homes and constructed 16 new concrete homes. With its partnership with Milano Diamond Gallery, the Fund will have executed 102 home repair and reconstruction projects across St. Maarten.