Adopt a bear brings Christmas joy to island children
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015
176 children of San Pedro Ambergris Caye will have their wish list come true on this festive Christmas season. This will be possible thanks to the ‘Adopt a Bear’ project created by a group of individuals on the island set to ensure that the island’s less fortunate children receive a gift from Santa! The project gives the opportunity to anyone to give a Christmas present to one child who may otherwise not receive one. The project was a tremendous success, and well over a hundred children represented by the adopted bears received their gifts on the morning of Wednesday, December 23rd from 9AM to 1PM at the Lions Den. Following the distribution of gifts, the children were treated to a hearty lunch.
The program was developed and organized by the owner of SandBar Hostel and Restaurant, Brittney O’Daniel, and Kaitlin McWhorter of Project Abroad. “We feel super happy that the project received the support we were all expecting. We already have received over seventy presents from the one hundred and seventy six and we expect to have all the rest by Tuesday, December 22nd. We appreciate everyone’s support on this worthy cause,” stated O’Daniel.
According David Jenkins, one of the project’s supporters, the children were selected from different organizations throughout the island. “The first group of children came from families who benefit from the ‘Food Bank,’ then Brittney reached out to Ambergris Caye Elementary School and social services. The San Pedro Police Department also assisted in locating children that would fit in the program from other areas of the community. We have contacted all the children to be at the Lions Den on Wednesday for the distribution of the presents, however, not all children were able to make it. For the children who could not make it to the Den, we will be bringing the presents to their homes directly, or through the different individuals and organizations that donated the gifts,” said Jenkins. He is also happy to see how well the community committed to the cause, and they can’t wait to see the children’s happy faces when they give out the presents.
The Adopt a Bear Project simply asked interested patrons visiting SandBar, Island Time, or Crazy Canucks Beach Bar to select a bear ornament from the Christmas tree. Each bear was inscribed with the name and age of a child of San Pedro Town on the front and their Christmas wish on the back. Once the bear was adopted, it was up to the person to make the Christmas wish come true by purchasing the gift, wrapping it and returning it to any of the participating establishments.
Everyone who contributed to the project was invited to come to the Lions Den to witness the distribution of the presents, and feel the joy of giving and putting smiles on these children faces. Organizers of the project would like to thank everyone who in one way or other helped in the grand success of the program.
Next year’s project promises to be bigger and better, and organizers hope that all bears are adopted again.
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