SANTA Claus returned to the Caribbean just in time for yet another celebration of giving with the Sandals Foundation through its annual toy drive.
This year, over 13,000 children throughout the Caribbean where Sandals Resorts International and the Sandals Foundation are present, received gifts from Santa and his Sandals Foundation elves. In St. Lucia, over 1000 children ranging from ages of three years old to 13 years old benefitted from this initiative.
The project took place this year under the theme “High Five Holiday Toy Drive” in keeping with the Sandals Foundation’s 5th anniversary celebrations. The programme is an annual one that looks to reinforce the Sandals Foundation’s commitment to giving back to the communities and allowing every child the opportunity of a normal and impactful life.
Beginning in early December, Santa’s helpers visited six schools throughout the island, making its final stop at the Balata Government School.
Director of the Sandals Foundation Heidi Clarke said the annual programme is one that the team certainly looks forward to every year. She said: “It is heartwarming to know that our Christmas treats bring so much joy to so many children and we are very grateful for all the partners, donors and volunteers who make this possible. It means the world to us to be able to do our part to make sure the children are happy and have a very merry Christmas.”
Regional Director for Sandals Resorts International – Eastern Caribbean, Mr. Andre Dhanpaul cited Christmas as not a time nor a season, but rather a state of mind – one that the Sandals Foundation looks to spread all year round with its programmes which look to promote opportunities, peace and goodwill in communities scattered throughout St. Lucia and the Caribbean.
The toy drive was made possible through longstanding partnership with Hasbro, Inc. who donated 13,000 brand new toys and games as part of their contribution to the cause. In keeping with the philanthropic cause, Hasbro, Inc. has further pledged to donate an additional toy or game for every US$25 donated to the initiative this year.
Moreover, the Sandals Foundation hosted a total of 90 Christmas treats, or mini Christmas parties, across the Caribbean at children’s homes, community centres and early childhood and primary schools. Individuals, including travel and industry partners, guests of the resorts and team members were encouraged to make a donation, or volunteer, thereby making a positive impact on children during the holiday season.