On January 29th and 30th, members of the Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch (BRCSP), along with four visiting volunteers, and Pastor Robert Palacio and his wife Laverne Palacio, hosted a two day educational campaign for residents of the San Mateo Area. At the same time, a food drive was held to replenish stocks at the San Pedro Food Bank. The drives yielded four boxes of food items and over $600 dollars in cash.
The educational campaign took place at the Faith Bible Church located in San Mateo. Two of the visiting volunteers happened to be nurses and joined in the efforts of providing reliable information and material about HIV, sexually transmitted infections and reducing the incidence of teen pregnancies. The nurses supplied information in Spanish, while the BRCSP provided an English flip book that was made possible with support and approval from the Jamaica Red Cross HIV team.
A total of 26 children attended the educational sessions, and according to the BRCSP, they were very enthusiastic about the materials and information provided. During separate sessions for girls and boys, they conversed with the nurses about issues specific for them. Simultaneously, a round table discussion was held to identify direct needs of the children in San Mateo.
Many issues were identified, ranging from the lack of parental support to the urgent need to develop parental training classes. Five needs were pointed out: feeding programs, clothes and shoe drives, sexual and reproductive health education, parenting classes, and after school tutoring and assistance with homework.
After becoming aware of the immediate need, an international volunteer group known as Direct Abundance, and who happened to be on the island, was able to secure a large donation of baby clothes the following day. This was the first step in trying to reach out to those most in need in San Mateo. The BRCSP looks forward to working with the Faith Bible Church to continue addressing the needs of the residents on that side of the island.
Around the same time, the same group of volunteers requested assistance in holding a food drive while in Belize. The BRCSP joined them in an effort to raise both funds and food to support the many families who rely weekly on the food bank. A total of eight volunteers helped in the cause and stood in front of our main local stores to collect money and food.
The BRCSP is very grateful for the generosity of the community and would like to extend out a BIG thank you to all who supported the drive. Special thanks go out to Sandbar Hostel, Caye Mart, Mermaid, and both Super Buy stores for their assistance.
At the end of the day, the proceeds were divided between the BRCSP, Raise Me Up, and the Food Bank who also received all the food collected.
For more information, to get involved or to donate to the local Red Cross branch on the island contact [email protected] or [email protected]
To show support and keep updated with their work please like their Facebook page (Belize Red Cross San Pedro).
The San Pedro Branch is looking forward to a great 2017 and would like to thank everyone who helps them to help the community!