San Pedro unites once more for Fire Victims Benefit

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 9, No. 49            Demember 23, 1999

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Some of the workers at the Fire Victims Benefit

Just minutes after the devastating fire was over on Friday a group of concerned locals started planning ways of helping the victims of this tragedy. The word spread quickly and by morning a plan for a fundraiser was in progress. The San Pedro Town Board offered its full support as did the office of Honorable Patty Arceo, the San Pedro Lions Club and its auxiliaries and hundreds of concerned citizens. A team was quickly put together to ask for donations of food to be sold. The San Pedro Town Board offered all the proceeds of the bar, the Lions Club offered to barbecue for the food sale and hundreds of locals provided food.

    On Sunday morning a live broadcast by Radio Arecife at Central Park  announced the fundraiser's goal to collect $40,000 by sunset. As was expected, the people of San Pedro came out in full force with their cash donations, pledges and even personal valuables to be raffled. By midday, Central Park was the location of everyone who cared, despite the heavy rains. As the rains cleared, people kept arriving with their donations. Entertainment during the benefit was provided by Dennis Wolfe, Barefoot Skinny, Ramon "Memo" Guerrero, Los Niños de la Punta, Celeste Phillips, Unity Band and Barbara's Dance Group. Constant loud cheers from the crowd signaled more donations coming in. Before sunset the targeted amount had been achieved and surpassed. As the announcements and donations continued, a deep feeling of unity and love was sensed in the crowd. Bingo Domingo, which is usually held Sundays at the Hide-a-way Hotel, moved to the Park and the games were played with the proceeds going to the fire victims. Celeste Phillips worked tirelessly in organizing this main event with the grand prize being a surveyed lot donated by Belize Rural South.

     After dark the crowd was still out in full support and at the end a grand total of over $72,000 worth of cash, pledges and material donations had been received. As of press time, donations were still coming in bringing the total even higher. An impartial group and organization, namely the Board of Director of the San Pedro Lions Club, has been put in charge of looking into the needs of the individual victims and dispersing the donations. Honorable Patty Arceo told the San Pedro Sun that she has come up with a recommendation that consists of the following. "We will start to conduct inspections of house wiring since many houses were wired by unlicensed electricians. It is believed that faulty wiring was what may have started the fire, so we have to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the people of San Pedro. We will also be getting a new fire truck on the island by the end of January 2000."

    The people of San Pedro once again showed their kindness and gave from their hearts for the victims of the fire proving that they are truly unified. Way to go San Pedro! You are a unique and admirable community.
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