Unrest in Bonaire’s food bank: ‘People suddenly stood in front of a closed door’

April 29, 2022 | Nathaly Evertsz-Ipcedencia

KRALENDIJK – At Adra Food Pantry’s food bank, there has been unrest for three months after customers suddenly stood in front of a closed door. “The packed lunches and atmosphere are not as normal. You can feel in the employees that something is going on, “says a worried customer.

In January, the coordinator had decided to keep the doors closed after reports that the finance administration was wrong. According to various customers, it sometimes happened that there were fewer products in the food package, but this was the first time that they faced a closed door.

The incident raises many questions with the various customers. They say they are worried and wondering if they can continue to trust their packed lunches. Three employees have since resigned due to the dispute.

$ 75,000 state subsidy
It is not clear whether the problems surrounding the administration are due to manipulation or carelessness. Adra Food Pantry has been distributing packed lunches on Bonaire for ten years now. The Food Bank receives an annual grant of $ 75,000 from the municipality of Bonaire. For that money, about 300 packed lunches can be made every month.

According to Anette Paris, director of Adra Bonaire, the coordinator closed the doors because there were not enough products. Furthermore, the dispensing site would not be clean enough. “I understand his motives, but it was not correct to close the doors,” Paris says.

Cheating or carelessness?
But according to the office administrator of the Adventist Mission Bonaire, much more is happening. The internal problems in the food bank also relate to the administration that is not in order, says Nurelle Chirino. “Money is being spent, but there are no bills or receipts.”

In her own words, Chirino has through her attention discovered that grant money can be cheated. She also says that it was the coordinator who was responsible for this, but that he did not follow the board’s call for responsibility.

The director of Adra Bonaire can not confirm Chirino’s story. “The fact is that every year we pass the auditor’s audit. It is not my job to check all receipts, “said Paris.” We rely on the expertise of an auditor and the case is then closed for us. Chirino is not authorized to speak on behalf of Adra. “

Deputy Nina den Heyer (Social and Welfare) says in a reply that she was not even aware of the prevailing unrest around the food bank. The municipality has since approached the board for clarification.

Quarrel over modern working methods
Director Paris confirms the disagreement in the organization. Only according to her, the disagreement is about the coordinator’s attitude to the food bank’s new working method. “Times have changed, we are now working on a completely different system.”

Adra is part of a worldwide network of 140 offices, of which Adra International is the umbrella body. In 2021, Adra Bonaire will be accredited, and in order to retain the license, they must meet a few conditions. For example, a modern and digital way of reporting.

“I wanted to solve this together. Since November last year, we have continuously consulted with the coordinator. He ran away during the meetings, “said Paris. “In the end, we did not succeed.”

The coordinator no longer works in the food bank. “I quit right away,” he says. He declined to comment on the reasons for his resignation. His departure has created more unrest: Two volunteers who have helped the food bank for years have stopped.

A new coordinator is now employed by the food bank. “We are confident we are on the right track to regain calm at the Adra Food Pantry,” said Anette Paris.

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