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Jul 5, 2019

Welcome Resource Center Celebrates 6th Anniversary

The Welcome Resource Center is an N.G.O. that assists the mentally ill, as well as the homeless population in Belize. The center, which is located in Belize City, offers its participants a hot lunch, shower and a change of clothing. It also engages the participants in programmes throughout the day to keep them occupied in a welcoming and safe space. To mark its sixth anniversary, the Welcome Resource Center held a programme to thank its supporters and share some good news. Reporter Andrea Polanco tells us more.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Welcome Resource Center opened its doors six years ago. To celebrate this milestone, donors, board members and clients of the center met today to recognize individuals and organizations that support the center. The center announced a new service for its participants.


Joyce Ellis, Administrator, Welcome Resource Center

“One of the big things for us that we could have announced today is that we would start to do breakfast starting Monday. That is a biggie for us because we were only doing the lunch but we are actually doing breakfast starting Monday.”


Andrea Polanco

“How did the clients take this news?”


Joyce Ellis

“They were all excited because sometimes they come early and just sit around and just wait for lunch to be served.”


The Center currently serves between thirty to thirty-five vulnerable persons every day. These clients are persons who suffer from mental health problems, as well homeless, addicts or elderly who don’t have social support and amenities at home. The doors are open in the morning and close in the evenings – it serves as a safe space where these persons can socialize, take a bath and get a hot meal.


Joyce Ellis

“When you come in you get a change of clothes. You have to take your shower that is one of the rules. We have one or two who come in already groomed because they are here from the first day and they have learned to groom themselves and that in itself is a plus. Although some of them might have homes they may not have the basic needs at their house so they come for the service that we have. The center is just what it is; it is a welcome center so we welcome everyone.”


Andrea Polanco

“What kind of difference is this center making in the lives of this vulnerable population?”


Joyce Ellis

Joyce Ellis

 “The center is a great impact on the population that we serve because we see less people on the street. We more of our participants have that dignity and pride in themselves. They want to look clean, smell clean and they want to be in a nice environment. That is one of the things that the center offers, that social support where they can come and do a little relaxation. I am not saying that medication is not important but with medication also comes that social support and that is what we provide here at the center.”


It is a clean, safe space that participants like Winfield Garbutt and Mark Gill use on most days.


Winfield Garnett

Winfield Garnett, Participant, Welcome Resource Center

“I come at least five days for the week. What does it offer that makes you come back? They offer – I can come take a bath, get fresh clothes and the food is alright. What the use of staying home and I rent a house and got nothing to eat.  I’m a single man and I can get fresh clothes. I think I took a bath this morning. And these clothes, they provide me with. Now what would want me not want to be here or don’t like this place.”


Mark Gill

Mark Gill, Participant, Welcome Resource Center

“I like the quietness of the place and thing and the communication amongst the organization and the people who put in their work and thing and etc. But I no find no fault. I bathe I shave up, put on my arms spray, comb mi hair, shave up etc.”


The Welcome Center receives some support from government, as well as help from private donors. But the center still needs more resources to serve this growing, vulnerable population.


Joyce Ellis

“It doesn’t have to be in cash. If you have items that you are not using, bring it over to the center. Come in and spend some time with our participants; talk to them. They need to hear another person’s perspective. It is five staff members we have here and they hear us every day, so if anybody else can come in and have a little chit chat with them; do current events with them then that would be great.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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