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Jun 28, 2017

It’s Time to Ride Across Belize with S.S.B.

Since 2004, the Social Security Board’s staff has been supporting non-profits and other local projects doing community work by work raising monies to help fund worthy causes. The annual ‘Ride Across Belize’ initiative kicked off today and the ride is expected to raise twenty-five thousand dollars, which will be matched by the S.S.B.  News Five’s Andrea Polanco attended today’s opening ceremony and has more in this report.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Ride Across Belize got underway today from Corozal to Belize City. Around seventy riders, both independent and corporate sponsored, cycled eighty five miles for the first leg of this annual initiative that is led by the staff of the Social Security Board. Taking place for over ten years, the purpose remains the same – to provide assistance to needy organizations and worthy causes. The aim is to raise at least twenty five thousand dollars and it will be matched by the Social Security Board.

 

Chandra Cansino

Chandra Cansino, Organizer, Ride Across Belize

“It’s been for the past thirteen years. We ride from Corozal to Punta Gorda, so the ride itself is across country of beautiful Belize and the staff is basically the persons that support the ride in preparing for the riders, getting food and fund raising, so it is really a staff initiative that is supported by the Social Security Board. The target is always twenty five thousand dollars, because the Board pledges to match that dollar for dollar. So, as long as we can raise twenty five thousand we get an additional twenty five thousand from the Board.”

 

One of the organizations to benefit from this ride is the ‘Adopt a Child with Disability’. It is an N.G.O. that provides much needed physical therapy for disabled children who are otherwise not able to afford it. At the moment, the organization is only serving fifteen children – but there are hundreds more who need the services they provide.

 

Juan Pablo Collado

Juan Pablo Collado, Director, Adopt a Child with Disability

“What this organization is trying to do is raise funds so that we can hire people to come and provide free physical therapy for our children with disability in the country.   I want to invite the public out there; the business community; everyone to stop by a social security office to deposit your little dollar, your ten dollars, your big checks, everything because this is going to go for a good cause. This is a project that we want to do country-wide and open services and clinics all over the country because we have children with disabilities all over the country and they are not being – they don’t have the services that they needthe Government involved; but first of all I think it is the social responsibility from each individual out there to show up and give your donation so that these kids have can a better quality of life.  Just in San Ignacio, we are doing a survey – and in the Cayo district there’s over a hundred kids. There are kids with all sorts of neurological problems, orthopedic problems, deformities and most of them are from very low income families and cannot afford such services.  There’s hundreds and probably thousands of kids out there- all over the country – but we have to do a lot of research and go out there and see because a lot of them are locked up in their rooms, some of them are abused, chained to their beds because their families feel ashamed of their disabled children.”

 

The other project set to receive funds from Ride Across Belizeis the ‘Urban Schools Gardening Program’ a project being carried out within city schools in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture.

 

Chandra Cansino

“Basically, we will be using spaces within the schools in Belize City to plant gardens, where the children will do the planting, the harvesting and they will do the eating; because the plan is that the foods that are harvested will go into their feeding programmes as well. We think it is a good initiative and it will bring back that concept of subsistence farming that some of us grew up with and hopefully some of them take the idea at home and plant in their own yards because there is no reason we shouldn’t be planting and eating our own food.”

 

Ride Across Belize continues on Thursday from Belize City to San Ignacio; and move on to Dangriga on Friday and ends in Punta Gorda on Saturday. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

To donate to Ride Across Belize, you can participate in the raffles at the different S.S.B. branches or you can drop off your pledges at any of the offices, as well as make deposits to Scotia Bank account number 1-9-3-6-2-0-2.

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