Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Hope Haven continues to assist island families with essential goods during the pandemic

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While Hope Haven Children’s Home and Empowerment Center’s mandate is to look after children placed in their care by the Department of Human Services, they have always risen to the occasion of assisting the community in times of need. As uncertainty continues to hover over the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic, here on Ambergris Caye Non-Governmental Organizations like Hope Haven continue to work tirelessly to take care of those most affected by this threat that has paralyzed the economic sector on the island. Since March 23rd, when the first positive case was announced, they have been distributing goods/groceries on a daily basis to the families affected by the pandemic across the island. 

To date, they have assessed 2173 families, of which 2064 have received a two-week supply of groceries. As Hope Haven continues to secure resources to continue the program, they continue the arduous process of assessing additional families, who have yet to receive much-needed help.

Currently, the organization operates the distribution center from a large warehouse in the Boca del Rio Area belonging to businessman Mahmoud Hassoun, a member of the Lebanese business community on the island. At the distribution centre, an army of volunteers bags groceries, loads them on golf carts and distributes them. Each family gets an amount of essential items that includes rice, beans, flour, non-perishable goods, bread, including chicken, eggs, and hygienic products, among other items at an estimated price of $170 Belize Dollars per bag.

Besides delivering to the main subdivisions around downtown – San Mateo, Boca del Rio, the entrance to San Pedrito, San Pedrito, San Pablo, San Marcos, DFC, Escalante, and Marina Road – deliveries are also done in remote areas in northern and southern Ambergris Caye.

The San Pedro Sun accompanied the Hope Haven team on Friday, May 1st for deliveries to the Entrance of San Pedrito, DFC, Escalante and even as far as Las Brisas Area by the southern tip of the island.

Many island families were happy to receive their goods and thank Hope Haven for the generous donation, which would help them go through for another two weeks. After the deliveries for the day, the team reported back to base, where other volunteers were preparing more packages for distribution to other families in the coming week.

The process of assessing families

Hope Haven asks that families requiring assistance text their name, location and contact number (in case they are texting from someone else’s phone) to 670-7030, and a Hope Haven volunteer will call you to complete an online assessment. The assessment is the same used as the Department of Human Services countrywide and as such they ask families to only apply once. Once the form is submitted, the information is populated on a Google sheet and the delivery list is printed. Questions on the form include names and social security numbers for each member of the family over 18, where they were working, and their reason for seeking assistance. The comprehensive form does not allow for families to seek assistance more than once.

Hope Haven hopes to continue the relief assistance to those in most need in the community as long as the resources continue to be available. They have received assistance for the program both locally and internationally. Of note is the $100,000 donation on April 7th from the Lord Ashcroft COVID-19 Relief Fund to assist island families affected by the pandemic. According to Hope Haven, via a press release, that economic assistance could not have come at a better time, as the reserves and donations provided by hundreds of benefactors were very low.

As tourism remains delayed in its return to the island,and job sources remain low, people will continue to need assistance with essentials – especially food. Donations (including monetary) are highly appreciated to continue providing relief for these families in need, people who are out of work. Anyone able to help can do so via the following channels:

PayPal at https://paypal.me/hopehavenbze

Atlantic Bank Account #100256642 (Raise Me Up, NGO)

The Board of Directors, staff and volunteers of Hope Haven Children’s Home would like to thank every single person and organization who has made these relief efforts possible. To those that have contributed their time, money and in-kind donations they want to say a BIG and HEARTFELT THANK YOU!

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