Sunday, April 14, 2024

Colleen’s Kitchen at San Pedro Food Bank distributes recycled bags

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Every day, Colleen’s Kitchen at the San Pedro Food Bank at Hope Haven provides meals to underprivileged children and adults. This program is made possible thanks to local restaurateurs who keep the initiative alive. To further engage the local community and even visitors in contributing to the worthy cause, recycled cotton bags are being distributed at different convenience stores. In exchange, patrons (visitors) are asked to kindly donate any grocery items upon departure that can be used by the food bank at Hope Haven, San Pedro’s Children’s Home and Community outreach Center located on Lion Street, across from the Maya Island Air.

This environmentally friendly project was funded by one of Hope Haven’s patrons, Glenn Schwendinger. He told The San Pedro Sun that the idea is to encourage visitors, who may purchase goods to cook at their lodging places, to donate any leftover groceries upon their departure. Those items can be delivered in the same cotton bags obtained at the different participating grocery stores on the island. The bags will then be returned to the stores for others to use. The program is not only geared towards tourists. Islanders are also encouraged to use the bags and take them to Hope Haven with groceries to benefit those in need.

Schwendinger hopes that this practice is not only done on Ambergris Caye, but that other communities across Belize will follow. He believes that this program is an excellent way to unite the community and help the environment by not using plastic bags while providing groceries to the food program.

The food bank has been helping families in need for years, and before moving to Hope Haven, it operated from the San Pedro Lions Den. There was no way to serve prepared meals so only non-perishable and dry goods could be distributed weekly. However, some people did not have stoves and could not cook. Schwendinger reached out to the food bank and presented a check in honour of his late wife, Colleen. Thereafter, hot meals began to be provided to the neediest families.

When Hope Haven, a joint venture project of non-profit organizations Raise Me Up, SHINE, and San Pedro Lions Club, was officially opened on November 4, 2017, the food bank relocated to the building’s ground floor and was renamed in honor Schwendinger’s wife, Colleen. She is remembered as a great benefactor, who attached herself to many humanitarian projects in the community. Colleen was described as loving the joy that feeding people brought to her life, especially the children. To provide hot meals at the food bank’s kitchen at Hope Haven is what Colleen would have desired for the island community. Colleen’s kitchen draws volunteers and donations on a weekly basis, keeping her legacy alive, one meal at a time.

For more information about Colleen’s Kitchen at San Pedro Food Bank, please visit https://facebook.com/sanpedrofoodbank. For more information about Hope Haven, please visit www.hopehavenbelize.org.

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