This holiday season, the Sandals Foundation have celebrated its love forCaribbean families by helping some of the most vulnerable meet their needs. In what can be described as an aptly titledfundraising campaign, Here For You, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International have raised and commenced the distribution of care packages to benefit some 600 families not only here in Antigua and Barbuda but also across the region.
The activity, valued at approximately US$42,000, have beenexecuted, in addition to the annual Christmas toy distribution,that has brought hope to families that are facing challengesexacerbated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“There is no doubt that so many families across the world have endured tremendous challenges this past year and it has been no different here in the Caribbean. This is our home, our people and it is therefore our duty to continue playing our part and share a sense of hope to those in our communities who need it most,” said Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International and President of the Sandals Foundation.
Tourism is the largest economic driver in the Caribbean directly and indirectly impacting more than two million people. While the region has been one of the best performing in its management of the virus, its fragile tourism dependent economies have experienced significant disruptions.
“We know that the income stream for many families have been reduced or completely disrupted, so for this holiday season, it was especially important for us to ensure that we work closely with our team members and local partners to purchase and distribute care packages, food vouchers, groceries and hot meals to support as many individuals and families as we can,”said Stewart.
To date, partners have included the Rotary Club of Antigua,Junior Chamber International Antigua, and Youths for Christ, Sir Lester Bird Medical Center Social Work department, the Social Protection Board, local primary schools and community activist.
Rotary Club’s 2021 President, Joanna Spencer said, “Being able to assist people in the community especially at this time of the year means a lot to us as members. For many families, they have had to struggle throughout the year, especially in the face of a pandemic and job losses to make ends meet and if we can play a part during this Christmas season to provide them with groceries for the holidays it means we are fulfilling our theme for this year, “Serving to Change Lives.”
This year’s broadened care package support to vulnerable families adds to the philanthropic organization’s annual Christmas toy distribution that has been a staple event forchildren across Antigua, Jamaica, St. Lucia, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Grenada, and Barbados.
For ten years, through its longstanding partnership with American Toy Company, Hasbro, more than 100,000 fun and educational toys have been donated to children ages 3 to 7 years, making the holidays even more special. This year, through careful logistical coordination in line with health and safety protocols, Sandals and Beaches Resorts team members and partners will carefully distribute more than 10,000 toys tohomes, schools, community organisations and more.
“We are incredibly grateful to our partners at Hasbro who have helped us to continue to make the season even more special for children across the Caribbean and we are grateful to our team members who never skip a beat to get these gifts into the hands of so many young boys and girls,” said Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at Sandals Foundation.
“It’s all about celebrating the Caribbean family with a spirit of gratitude and love,” Clarke continued, “Bringing joy and hope in any way we can and letting them know we are here for you”.