Thursday, July 18, 2024

Adopt a Bear brings joy to hundreds of island children

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For the fourth consecutive year, ‘Adopt a Bear’ project brought happiness to hundreds of children on Ambergris Caye. Five hundred children who wouldn’t otherwise receive a Christmas present were gifted on Thursday, December 20th.
As of 9AM, island children gathered at Hope Haven Center to receive their gifts from Santa Claus, complete with hugs and even candy. Several wanted their picture with the jolly man in red too.
One island mother told The San Pedro Sun that her children have been receiving gifts from ‘Adopt a Bear’ project since 2015 and she is beyond grateful. “I’m a single mother with four kids, so sometimes it’s hard to purchase Christmas presents for all of them. I appreciate the help I have been getting with the ‘Adopt a Bear’ project for the past four years,” she said.
The “Adopt a Bear” program began in 2015 and was founded by co-owner of Sandbar Hostel and Restaurant, Brittney O’Daniel and Kaitlin McWhorter (formerly of Projects Abroad), with the aim to bring happiness to children of modest means in San Pedro Town. It involves residents and visitors choosing a bear ornament from a Christmas tree at participating locations. The bear is labeled with the name, gender, and age of a child, as well as their dream gift. By adopting a bear, the giver commits to purchasing three items for the respective child; something they need, an educational item, and their wish gift written on the bear.
Throughout the years, the “Adopt a Bear” program has progressed beyond gifting children on Ambergris Caye. On Friday, December 21st gifts were also distributed to children from Liberty Children’s Shelter in Belize (Ladyville) and Kings Home in Belmopan City, Cayo District.
The names of the children that received gifts were collected with the help of the New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School, Holy Cross Anglican School, Department of Human Service, Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II, Kings Home, and Liberty Children’s Shelter and Hope Haven Center.

Special thanks go out to participating businesses in the Adopt a Bear initiative, which includes: The Truck Stop, Sandbar Beach Bar and Hostel, Mahogany Bay Village, Crazy Canucks, Marbucks Coffee House, and Palapa Bar and Grill. Organizers of the project would also like to thank everyone who adopted a bear and made a child’s Christmas a merry one. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years!

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