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Merry Time at Toys for Tots Christmas Party Print E-mail
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Written by Shane d. Williams   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00

Fifty children from primary schools in the Southside of Belize City were treated to food, toys and a whole lot of laughter at the Toys for Tots Christmas Party on Tuesday, December 10th, at the House of Culture.

The Toys for Tots program is a regional initiative started by Continental Airlines over a decade ago. Since the merger with United Airlines three years ago, the Belize staff is one of few that have maintained the program. Indira Craig, Country Manager for United Airlines, says it was important for them to keep the program because “it has been one of the most rewarding community programs for us”. She says, “There is nothing like having a child walking home with a toy for Christmas. Their faces are all lit up and it is one of the best feelings in the world to witness such pure joy.”

The Toys for Tots team from United started their fundraising drive in September at the Expo. Staff members and travel agents sold raffle tickets for a round trip ticket to anywhere United Airlines flies in the United States. The Christmas party was made possible with the proceeds from the raffle along with donation from corporate sponsors such as Smart, Bowen and Bowen and Grace Kennedy Belize Limited.

Ten primary schools in Southside Belize City were given five invitations for students who are seven or eight years old. As the students arrived at the House of Culture grounds they were greeted by clowns, Burger and Fries. Burger and Fries made balloon animals, swords and hats for each child. Food and drinks were then served by the Toys for Tots team and other volunteers. After the children had finished their snacks, Burger and Fries invited them to play a game which tests their memory and ability to pay attention. The game is called “Parám Parám”. The children had a lot of fun as they were called upon to repeat a phrase that was assigned to them. Failure to chant in a timely manner when called upon resulted in elimination. The members of the winning group received additional balloons. The adults were also called upon to participate in the games. They had to act like motorcycles and were each assigned to a child. As the child held unto their waist, the adult/motorcycle had to perform a stunt. One did a front wheelie and another did a back wheelie. One put on a drifting display but the winner was the motorcycle that made some huge “donuts” on the stage. Even Indira Craig had her share of fun as she won a balloon blowing competition and earned a gift for a child. At the end of the games the children were visited by Santa Clause who gave them each a gift for Christmas. One boy and a girl also won a tablet each for winning the grand prize game which was taken from “The Bozo Show”.

Toys for Tots plans to make the event annual once again. The team has also widened its community outreach since inception. They were instrumental in the Hurricane Richard relief efforts in the Yarborough area. The group fed over 1,700 people after the storm passed.