New York Belizeans Send Gifts Back Home - 5 Organizations Benefit Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 09 December 2010 00:00
Marjorie Laing and Indira Craig with donation recipientsThe New York Belizeans Working Together for Progress (NYBWTFP) is an umbrella organization for eight smaller groups made up of Belizean Americans whose hearts remain in the homeland. Those groups are the Belize Chemotherapy Organization of New York, Inc, Belize Organization of New York, Inc, Friends Supporting the Anglican Diocese of Belize, Garifuna Settlement Day Mass Committee, James Lovell and the Afrigarifuna Youth Ensemble, New York Belizean Committee, Inc. (Festibel), St. Catherine Alumnae Association, New York Chapter, and the Permanent Mission of Belize to the United Nations. The Pallotti Alumni Association of New York was a member up to 2009.

Marjorie Laing is the Treasurer of the New York Belizeans Committee. She said that Belizeans living in New York are extremely conscious of what’s going on in Belize. They are also proud of their Belizean heritage and join in all celebration activities that occur at home. They display their nationalistic spirit openly, especially during the September celebrations. Many of the organizations hold events for Independence Day. Therefore, the effort to celebrate in unison has been difficult, but the New York Belizeans Working Together for Progress has managed to host an Independence Fundraising Dinner each of the last two years. After securing funds for the 2011 dinner, the organization decided to pass the rest of the proceeds ($11,000) to organizations at home.

Fourteen organizations were nominated to receive donations. Those organizations fell under four categories: education, community service, healthcare and/or hurricane relief. A drawing was held at the Permanent Mission of Belize to the United Nations in New York on September 12 to determine which organizations would receive donations. The drawing yielded Belize Kids First, the Belize City Lions Club, the Belize Kidney Foundation and the Yarborough Community Project. After Hurricane Richard had its way in Belize, NEMO was added to that list. Cheques for $2,000 each were given to Belize Kids First, the Belize City Lions Club and the Belize Kidney Foundation.

Annie Palacio is the President of Belize Kids First. Belize Kids First is an organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for underprivileged children who are potential recruits for the criminal world. Anne Palacio and her husband started the organization six years ago and have provided most of the finance from their personal funds. This year her organization is sending 25 children to school. She says that over the six years a few individuals came from dire circumstances and became successful.

Yanique Morgan is the vice president of the Belize City Leo’s Club, which is the youth Lion’s Club. According to her, the Leo’s Club challenges youths to get off the couch and make a difference. Last week they gave out Thanksgiving dinner to the elders at the Sister Cecilia Home and to homeless people across the city. They will use the donation to provide Christmas gifts to patients of the pediatric ward at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Morgan said that it is the third year they are doing the gift project and it is nice to show the kids that someone cares. It brings a smile to their faces even though they are ill. The club currently has 15 active members and the invitation is open for more youths age 25 and younger to join. One can join by visiting the Hostel adjacent to the KHMH and sign up. Meetings are held every first Saturday of the month.

Andria Cox, President of the Kidney Association, received the donation on behalf of the organization. The Kidney Association is a non-profit organization that started in 2003. Their goal is to educate and inform people about the functions of the kidney and promote healthy lifestyles. They also fundraise to subsidize treatments; dialysis for example. Cox said that since the Government of Belize is now providing dialysis treatment the effort is now focused on providing financial assistance for the purchase of catheters, and other instruments used to receive treatment. Cox got involved because she is a kidney transplant survivor. She is “a lucky one” because she received a kidney from her brother and it has worked well. She says that she understands the struggle patients dealing with kidney failure are experiencing. Now she is committed to spreading the word about healthy diet practices and providing financial and emotional assistance to other sufferers.

The National Emergency Management Organization received a cheque for $3,000. Laing said that the organization has worked tirelessly after the storm and all assistance given to them is for more than a worthy cause. The presentation to NEMO was done apart from the handing over ceremony. The cheque to the Yarborough Community Project could not have been passed over because there is no such organization. However, the intent of the cheque is for the people in the area to be assisted with food and clothing. Therefore, Indira Craig of Continental Airlines will help to identify an organization that will carry out that objective.

Once again the Diaspora has reached out in an effort to let everyone know that though distance separates us, we are all Belize!