Puerto Secreto Foundation and SPBE join in relief efforts for Ambergris Caye
Friday, April 3rd, 2020
Relief efforts continue on Ambergris Caye, as she was the recipient of two separate shipments of goods (groceries) on Thursday, April 2nd designated for the less fortunate during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. The first shipment was donated by the San Pedro Belize Express (SPBE) Water Taxi, which delivered over $30,000 worth of food items to Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. The other cargo of essential merchandise came from members of the Blue Creek and Shipyard communities in the Orange Walk District, who donated around $8,000 in goods to the Puerto Secreto Foundation. The transportation of goods from Orange Walk was facilitated by Puerto Secreto Ltd. which operates between the coast of Orange Walk District and Ambergris Caye.
The donation from Orange Walk consisted of rice, flour, meats, an assortment of vegetables, and poultry products. They were wheeled to a storage area north of San Pedro Town, from where it will assist feeding programs currently feeding several families on the island. One of the programs is headed by renowned island chef Maresha Reid, who has been cooking to feed a large amount of persons every three days. Those persons may have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, or are in a situation where they cannot cook for themselves. Those benefiting from the program have been carefully identified and are contacted via telephone when the hot meals will be distributed. These people hail from areas such as San Mateo and San Juan and San Pedrito. The food items donated will also assist another feeding program within a neighbourhood in San Mateo.
Island student takes the lead to feed her turf
Tivany Milligan is a second year Galen University student majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Marketing. She and her family live in the San Mateo Area of San Pedro Town, and she took it upon herself to find ways to feed her family and others living around her house. Milligan says that when people began losing their jobs, finding the next meal became challenging. Milligan asked everyone living around them for things she could prepare and combine to feed everyone. This led to a feeding initiative that is now feeding up to 10 persons at a time.
According to the Founder and Executive Director of Puerto Secreto Foundation, Michael Estephan, they were touched by Milligan’s project and decided to assist her. On Thursday, April 2nd, she was provided with a load of goods so she and her family can continue feeding people. Milligan told The San Pedro Sun that when she returns to the mainland to study, someone within her family will continue the project as they plan to continue doing so as long as they can. “If all of us contribute to this cause, then we can all do it together,” she said. Her mother Terri Aldana shared that she is proud of her daughter, who has been very proactive in helping others in this difficult situation that the country and world at large is experiencing. They are planning to encourage others in San Mateo to do the same so the most vulnerable get help and everyone stays together.
Estephan applauds this initiative and encourages others to follow Milligan’s example.
If anyone would like to donate to these feeding programs that are being co-ordinated by Puerto Secreto Ltd., Puerto Secreto Foundation, they can contact Estephan at 636-0805 or email [email protected].
Organizers will also like to acknowledge Mr. Jack, The Connection Company Limited, captain and crew of the boat that brought the goods, Ports Commissioner, Merlene Martinez , Lieutenant Commander at the Belize Coast Guard, Almita Pinelo and National Emergency Management Organization- NEMO Coordinator for Belize Rural South, Vanessa Parham for making this project possible.
San Pedro Belize Express (SPBE) Water Taxi Company gives back to the Cayes
One of the largest water taxi companies in the country, SPBE, sent a boat loaded with over $30,000 in food items to assist those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The assistance consisted of 40 sacks of flour, 10 sacks of sugar, 250 bags of rice, 150 bottles of cooking oil, 500 packs of Ramen Noodles.
The boat headed to Caye Caulker first, where they unloaded some of the vital cargo. Next, it was Ambergris Caye, where at the municipal dock they unloaded the rest of the items. The management of the company stated that this is a way of giving back to the islands and their dedicated customers who have stood with them over the last 11 years.
Area Representative and Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr., was present to receive the donation on behalf of the islanders. He thanked SPBE for the kind donation. “We welcome this gesture and it will be well managed and given to those that are really in need on the island,” said Heredia. He stated that other donations are expected to come to the island and that combined with this, the distribution will begin early next week. Heredia assured that everyone will get help and asked all islanders to not panic and to stay home until the Coronavirus crisis passes away. He explained that it will take months for the tourism industry to start again, and in the meantime, people should start adapting to the situation, have faith and be patient.
The entire country is on a 30-day National State of Emergency, which is expected to last through the entire month of April.
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