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Dec 23, 2020

Despite COVID Times, Salvation Army Carries Out Christmas Hamper Drive

It was a little tough this time around due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its annual kettle appeal being downsized, but even as funds have not been rolling in, the Salvation Army is still pushing forward with its Christmas hamper drive this year.  Today, residents lined up – six feet apart – to collect a voucher to shop for their pantry items courtesy of the humanitarian organization. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Today at the Salvation Army Headquarters on Regent Street, the annual Christmas hamper drive got underway. But it was different this year – residents weren’t walking away with a bag filled with groceries, but were instead receiving a voucher to shop at any of the Publics Supermarkets across the city and at a store in San Ignacio for the supplies they would need to have a Christmas meal.


Jonathan Kellman

Major Jonathan Kellman, District Commander, Salvation Army Belize

“This is the new normal for this year; we actually are not giving out physical hampers. We have partnered with Publics Supermarket in Belize City as well as Taisan Supermarket in San Ignacio. Because we started late and because of COVID-19 and so many things, we came up with this arrangement last week with Publics and so our package is valued at thirty-four dollars and so we are giving everybody a thirty-five-dollar shopping voucher to Publics.”


Agnes Alvarez was among seven hundred and seventy-five persons – and you could say families – from across Belize and Cayo Districts that is benefiting from this annual drive.  The elderly woman says that on a monthly basis, she and her family of three have been supported by the organization’s food pantry programme and this voucher is a huge help just in time for the Christmas.


Agnes Alvarez

Agnes Alvarez, Resident, Belize City

“Every month I get my thing over here; every month, not only Christmas, but it’s every month I get from Salvation Army.”


Duane Moody

“And this year will just help to make the Christmas dinner good.”


Agnes Alvarez

“Oh yes; I am thankful for that. I am thankful for the Salvation Army to give me that Christmas spirit.”


Major Jonathan Kellman says that the change in distribution of the packages was needed for social distancing and for the safety of the staff at the Salvation Army.  Beneficiaries in Maskall Village are the only ones who will be getting a bag of groceries instead of vouchers due to the location.


Major Jonathan Kellman

“We are distributing in six locations; here is the main one and then Castle Street, Orange Street, Hattieville, Georgeville and Maskall Village. Those in Maskall, we don’t have a supermarket there that we can partner with so we are giving them a bag. Well labelled, branded and this is ready for them. Publics did package especially for them. We have had people come here personally to bring the donation for Christmas. Every year they make a donation and they have not received my letter in the mail as yet because we started late. After 105 years in this country serving the people, we have people who are long-time committed donors.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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