Saturday, May 25, 2024

Annual Adopt a Bear to bring joy to island children for the fifth year


For the fifth consecutive year, the ‘Adopt a Bear’ initiative is back on the island for the Christmas season. The project, sponsored by the Raise Me Up Foundation, gives individuals in the community the opportunity to gift a Christmas present to one child whose parents are not able to do so during the holidays.
The program involves residents and visitors choosing a bear ornament from a Christmas tree at participating locations. The bear is labeled with the first name, gender, and age of a child, as well as their dream gift. By adopting a bear, the giver is committed to purchasing three items for the respective child; something they need, an educational item, and their wish gift written on the bear. Thanks to the generous hearts of both locals and tourists, this program has been bringing children smiles for five years now. Launched back in 2015 by Britney O’Daniel co-owner of Sandbar Hostel and Restaurant and founder of Hope Haven Children’s Home alongside Kaitlin McWhorter (then of Projects Abroad) the project brings happiness to the children of modest means in San Pedro Town.
Bears can be picked up at The Truck Stop, Sandbar Hotel & Beach Bar, The Palapa Bar, Crazy Canucks, or Mahogany Bay Village. Victoria House Resort & Spa has also requested bears who are adopted by their staff members. Each establishment received the number of bears requested, along with a spreadsheet to let them know who the individual sponsors are for acknowledgment. The bears, along with the gift items, are to be returned to Hope Haven no later than Sunday, December 15th, for distribution during their Christmas Foodbank Special on Wednesday, December 25th.
The Board of Directors of Hope Haven believes that every child has the right to play and be happy; by providing them with a gift from Santa, they can bring a smile to a child’s face and lower the burden on the parent. Island residents and tourists are encouraged to Adopt a Bear and make a child’s Christmas a merry one.

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