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Jul 26, 2018

Visiting Mission Concludes 3-Day Food Pantry & Schoolbag Programme

A Belizean American family is working along with the Belize City council to bring relief to hundreds of children in the south side. Brenda August-Leonard, through a Florida-based organization has contributed clothes, food, school supplies to needy children from Saint Martin’s and Port Loyola. The group is also assisting women whose children have been affected by urban violence. After the three-day mission, they wrapped up their services today at the Grace Primary School Compound on Faber’s Road Extension. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Sisters and Brother Ministries from Florida successfully completed its first mission to Belize, providing food, clothing, footwear as well as school supplies and snacks to needy children and mothers, primarily from the south side of Belize City. It is part of the City Council’s Food Pantry Programme that is assisting over a thousand persons in Saint Martin’s and Port Loyola. The initiative is a collaborative effort between a Belizean American family and her humanitarian organization and CitCo.

 

Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“We wanted to ensure that this summer, we started this programme. I was fortunate enough to meet up with Sister Brenda August; she represents the Sisters and Brothers Ministry out of Florida and I told her what were my plans and she was on board very quickly because this is all about giving back to your communities. She has been doing this programme for years and she said why not team together and make this thing yah happen. And from early April, one month after being elected, we signed an M.O.U. that the council will be behind her and deal with the logistics and the freight of the goods.”

 

It started with about twenty-two barrels of donated items back in April and May of this year. But within weeks, that figure almost doubled and forty barrels including backpacks and other items were shipped to Belize. The group is headed by Brenda August-Leonard, who migrated to the U.S. decades ago from Dangriga, having been raised in Hattieville and elsewhere in her formative years.

 

Brenda August-Leonard

Brenda August-Leonard, Sisters & Brothers Ministries

“Our ministry started about five to six years ago. It started out by myself. I started out by feeding the homeless in West Palm Beach, Florida. I worked downtown at the courthouse and I noticed there were many homeless persons wondering around. I saw people eating out of the garbage and things like that. And it just touched my heart and from that I just started to feeding them with a food, a lunch here and there and from that it went into feeding at least one hundred and twenty-five people. I remember how hard it was as a child in Hattieville. We used to walk barefoot to school, a mile and a half; there were times when we were hungry. We had no food. We had stale bread and water, but we were happy kids. But coming back home, I saw the need here in my country and it brought back my childhood and so I said, if it is something I can do for my people, I am going to do it.”

 

Through assistance from the church, organizations as well as friends and family, August-Leonard was able to put together great packages for the recipients.

 

Brenda August-Leonard

“We provide a book bag. We provide school supplies like pencils, erasers, composition books, note book. We also have a hygiene bag with soap and lotion and toothpaste and toothbrush, a pair of socks, a wash rag; deodorant. And we also put in that bag a snack pack. That includes milk and cereal and pudding and nuts and different snacks the kids can at least have for a couple of days. And then we clothing, shoes, linen and all sorts of stuff; anything I can fill in the forty barrels, I did.”

 

According to Mayor Bernard Wagner, the recipients were chosen based on need.

 

Bernard Wagner

“We neva look at colors; I always tell people, I dah noh about colors. I am about assisting whatever child we have out there who has a need—it is about assisting them and their family. We never once considered colors and what we did, we try to spread it as best as we could throughout the entire city. OUT 04:40

IN 01:48 Every time of this year, families have big challenge to find backpacks to send their kids to school and we say as a council let’s help dehn kids yah. five hundred bags given out at this time, when you look at it, if yo project it over a family of four, dah like two thousand people yo di impact. So I felt it was a good project and something we want to continue.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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