For the past fourteen years, the staff of the Social Security Board has been carrying out its Ride Across Belize fundraiser in an effort to support charitable causes. The 2017 Ride Across Belize initiative was held to support Adopt a Child with Disability Program and Urban Schools Gardening Program. A total of thirty-five thousand dollars was raised and this morning the funds were distributed to the recipients. General Manager for Corporate Customer Relations Services, Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, spoke to the media.
Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, General Manager for Corporate Customer Relation Services, Social Security:“The fundraising efforts is the greatest challenge every year for us. We tend to as you would rightly point out go back to the same persons every year for the donations and so it really waxes and wins depending on years. Our best year was I think $90,000 we had raised. This is not, 2017 was not one of our best years and the fundraising efforts are not only solicited from the business communities and the general public but it’s also initiated from within staff events at Social Security so it’s a constant challenge for us. Those are the only two persons that submitted requests for 2017; for whatever reasons we don’t have a lot of request for assistance under the Ride Across Belize; Social Security does but this is two different things, this is the Ride Across Belize initiative and we tend to choose projects that have a start and an end date because we are not able to provide that sustainable financing that some people might request for teachers, that sort of stuff so we choose projects that have a start and an end date and a definite budget and that is how we usually go forward.”
The Urban Schools Gardening Program received twenty-five thousand dollars and according to Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse, students from St Luke Methodist School, Gateway Youth Center and the Muslim Community Primary School in Belize will be able to plant and grow their own food to support their feeding programs.
Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture: “If you look at this society right now and you would be a little appalled to see that a lot of people are really overweight, a lot of children, small children as a matter of fact you see girls in Std. 5 and Std. 6 that really in my day when everybody was “magga” and “trim” they really big and this comes from for the most part as I understand from the Ministry of Health from eating unhealthy so to speak so people are on all sorts of little snacks and sweets and all sort of things. What we are trying to do is three fold: one get people to eat healthy so the program aims to teach children look man right in your backyard you can produce something you know you can grow cucumber, lettuce, you can grow watermelon, you can grow lots of things in your backyard fruit and vegetables so by promoting it in the schools where a bunch of children learn and then in that same school because most of them have a kitchen and a feeding program. They learn that you eat this very thing that you just harvest from outside and then by putting it in a curriculum we hope to engender in them this very question ask- a sense that look I can be productive, it’s not everything that I have to go and buy and so I can one make a living or two live healthy without tremendous expense that is the concept. We’ve done successfully in Toledo there is a school there that is doing awesome and if you go up to Orange Walk District on the Yo Creek Rd. there is another school that is doing fantastic. The kids are really engaged but we don’t want to leave out Belize City which the Jewel so we are attempting this in Belize City as well and as you know Senior Intendant Howell Gillet attempted this in Belmopan with the aid of our Ministry so we want to also partner with his program here in Belize City to see how we can advance that.”
The Adopt a Child with Disability Program received ten thousand dollars which will be used for therapy for children with disabilities who cannot afford it.