Verna Young Clement, a Belizean living in the US started an initiative in 2011, hosting a Christmas party for seventy-five children in Lords Bank and surrounding communities. Clement returned for her second annual Christmas party held over the weekend and this time she catered to over a hundred kids as well as almost eighty parents. Transportation was provided for guests from nearby villages, who were treated to a full day of fun and more treats than they could carry. Clement spoke to News Five today about the huge success of this year’s event.

Verna Young Clement, Hosted Children’s Christmas Party

Verna Young Clement

“We had a table set up for them with candies, cookies—you name it—chocolates, where they could have helped themselves. The teachers assisted them. And then after that we started doing games right away and we also had raffles for the parents because we didn’t want the parents to feel like they weren’t a part of it. So while the games are going on for the kids, there’s raffles going on for the parents. We tried to do it like every half an hour so that someone could win something. After that we had their lunch; they were treated to the usual rice and beans, chicken, turkey, pork, ham, macaroni and cheese, stuffing’s. For dessert they had their cupcakes. After they finished their lunch, they started games again where they would play needle and thread, lime and spoon, sack race, relay race and every time they win something they would get a prize and each child got their prize to take home, each teacher got a gift to take home and our free raffle for the parents consisted of bicycle, microwaves, irons, kettles, waffle irons, blenders, sheets, curtains; things that parents need in their home.”

Delahnie Bain

“And you do all this out of pocket or you fundraise?”

Verna Young Clement

“It’s still out of pocket. I have maybe five friends that had made a little contribution to me from the states and I have my friends, like my boss, my friends, my children when it comes to the clothes. We had a lot of clothes to go around. As a matter of fact, this year it was even more than last year; whatever we had last year, we had double that this year. I want to help kids, I want to put smiles on their face because I know that it’s not every kid there, but I am pretty sure that there are kids there that maybe wouldn’t have gotten a toy and for that kid that wouldn’t get a toy, that’s the kids that I put a smile on his face. Or the mom that couldn’t go buy all the things that she needed to cook for Christmas Day; I am glad that maybe that was the mom that won the bag of groceries that I gave out.”

The children as well as their parents and teachers were also surprised with envelopes of cash under their chairs. Clement says plans are already underway for a bigger and better Christmas bash in 2013.

Channel 5