Sunday, April 14, 2024

San Pedro Chinese Community donates food packages to islanders in need

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Over a thousand food packages were handed out to islanders on Wednesday, May 27th at the Honourable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex. The donation was made possible through a joint effort of the San Pedro Chinese Community, in collaboration with the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and Living Word Church, who helped in identifying those needing help. Many are jobless and have used most of their savings due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has crushed the island’s main source of income, tourism.

From 9AM, hundreds of islanders convened outside the sporting arena waiting for their turn to get inside and receive a bag full of groceries. The lines were long, and members of the San Pedro Traffic Department and the police tried their best to enforce social distancing. Each person/family had previously been issued a ticket either by the SPTC or the Living Word Church, after being identified as someone in need.

Inside the compound, people were spaced out and directed to an area where volunteers from Island City Supermarket (Chinese owned) handed out bags filled with food items. These included basic items like rice, beans, canned food, and hygienic products, among others. According to Seleni Paz, who spoke on behalf of the donors, all Chinese members on the island came together to try and help those that may not have any or are struggling to get some food on the table due to the lack of work. “It is an honour to help and we appreciate everyone, because they have supported us all this time and we will always be willing to help everyone who is in need,” she said. According to a member of the Chinese group, the value of the donation is estimated to be over $60,000 BZ.

Everyone receiving their bags of groceries thanked the Chinese Community for their generosity. A few persons spoke to The San Pedro Sun and said that they are having a hard time as there are no signs that their jobs will come back. Many are trying to help each other with the little they have and donations like these ones are welcomed. “Things will not get back to normal anytime soon, this uncertainty will last for a good while,” said one of the recipients.

While Belize remains on the COVID-19 clear list, places like San Pedro Town, where tourism is the main bread and butter are struggling to get the local economy moving. Minimal business activity is taking place, consisting of construction, fishing and some commercial. Some stakeholders claim that if an economic plan is not put into action soon, the island and perhaps even the country will be facing a humanitarian crisis.

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