Community spirit shines through tragedy
Friday, July 1st, 2016
The humanitarian spirit of La Isla Bonita has been heart-warming, as the island community quickly came together to assist the fire victims that left 88 homeless. Businesses entities, individual volunteers, non-profit organizations – everyone stepped up to the plate and have been going non-stop.
The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), along with many volunteers headed a massive clean-up campaign in the immediate area as soon as authorities gave the okay. The SPTC has also being hosting meals for the fire victims and volunteer workers at the Town Hall Conference Room. Those affected can stop by during breakfast, lunch hours, and at 8PM. So far, Elvi’s Kitchen, Rojo Bar and Lounge, The Sandbar, Blue Water Grill, El Popular of Orange Walk, and Ramon’s Village has provided food relief assistance. The SPTC advises that anyone who is interested in donating food to drop off warm meals at the conference room.
While the clean-up is in its final phase, the community continues ensuring that the affected families are well taken care of. Besides the assistance from the Government of Belize through the National Emergency Management Organization, many local stake holders and Non-Governmental Organizations on the island have joined forces to raise donations for the fire victims. The San Pedro Lions Den, the Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch, Leos Clubs, Projects Abroad, San Pedro Food Bank, Saga Humane Society, San Pedro Cancer Society, AIDS Commission, Reef Radio and Lighthouse Radio Station have been busy coordinating the aid coming to the island.
On Thursday, June 30th and Friday, July 1st another huge gesture of unity was shown when a telethon took place at Reef Radio/TV. As of press time $150,285.50 had been raised, with that number expected to increase significantly. Additionally, on that same day some business also held separate fundraisers as well. Marbucks gave 20% of their sales of the day, and collected extra donations of cash and food. Island City Supermarket donated baskets of groceries to each family, and $10 from every $100 spent at their establishment. Annie’s Pastries held a charity food sale consisting of a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings for only $15. All proceeds went towards the ‘Fire Victims Fund.’ Red Cross volunteers were also busy holding a dollar drive along the streets of San Pedro Town.
According to Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the support from the community has been impressive. “This is a tragedy, and we need to overcome it just as we have in the past. I know people of San Pedro are hardworking, and I know with the help and ideas of our good people, we will get back on track,” said Mayor Guerrero.
The San Pedro Lions Club continues to be the main donation centre, and they have been actively collecting clothing, footwear, toiletries, and non-perishable food.
Monetary contributions can still be made via the San Pedro Lions Club-Fire Relief Fund at Atlantic Bank account #211-382-902 or dropped off directly at the Lions Den on Barrier Reef Drive. The Southern Ambergris Caye Neighbourhood Watch has also set up an easy and fast way to donate through their webpage: https://sacnw.org/wp/product/fire-victim-assistance/. Any monetary donations received will be forwarded to the San Pedro Lions Club chapter.
Additionally, several organizations around the country have joined in the efforts to assist the fire victims. Courts’ countrywide branches are accepting donations, the local airlines (Tropic Air and Maya Island Air) and Caribbean Queen Barge Company continue offering their free cargo services. As well, the different branches of the Red Cross and Rotary Club are fully active countrywide putting their efforts together to assist this noble cause.
Santiago Castillo Ltd. also joined in the efforts of the relief and made donations towards the worthy cause on June 30th. Their contribution will benefit all those families that lost everything during the fire. Another donor who is getting ready to send in their donation is multi-national Courts. Their donation will include stove tops, mattresses, and $3,000 in groceries.
In the meantime, more volunteers are still welcomed, especially at the San Pedro Lions Den where items need to be sorted for distribution, as well as at the NEMO station, at the SPTC Conference Room, located at the back of the SPTC building.
For more information on how to contribute, the SPTC can be contacted at 226-2198.
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