The holidays are undoubtedly a joyous occasion in the Caribbean, with music and all-round cheer echoing throughout the air. This year, the Sandals Foundation made it even more memorable for children across Saint Lucia with a little help from ‘Santa and his elves’ hand-delivering an assortment of approximately 1200 toys and games.
The beaming faces and smiles of children at The Balata Primary, The Bishop Charles Gachet Roman Catholic Primary and Gros Islet Infant and Primary Schools were only topped by the warm hugs that greeted the philanthropic organisation’s ambassadors from the Sandals Resorts in Saint Lucia as they served students in an afternoon of treats, games, and toys donated by American toy company, Hasbro.
According to Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of Sandals Foundation, the activities were designed to bring laughter, joy, and happiness to children throughout the region, making this time magical.
“The holiday season is in full swing, and for us, it is a time of generosity, kindness, and love as we share joy and hope with the children we’ve worked with throughout the year”.
Clarke also added, “The sheer joy radiating from the volunteers as they distribute toys to the children, combined with the warm embrace they receive from that overjoyed child, is priceless “.
More than 14,000 fun and educational toys and games were distributed to children ages 3 to 13+ right across the Caribbean, with the customary high-energy celebration that has been known to characterize the Sandals Foundation team and the incredible partners that help make the activities possible.
The Principal of the Balata Primary School, Mr. Peter Daniel was overjoyed, noting that “Gift giving at the Balata Primary School was truly heart-warming this year. Our students were just full of smiles and cheers for Santa when he arrived. Our children have so many stories, many of whom come from homes where times are hard and their parents would have a tough time giving them anything for Christmas. This Christmas party by the Sandals Foundation may well be the only experience of celebrating Christmas for many children. And we have 248 children in our care.”
Further donations went to the Pediatric Ward at the OKEU hospital, Sheila’s Treehouse for destitute children in the Soufriere community, Anse La Raye Outreach Camp for children, the Basketball for the Future Camp, the Rotaract Club of Gros Islet, Berna’s Early learning Centre, the Canaries Primary School, the Holy Family Children’s Home, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Born Again Revival Tabernacle and the Full Gospel Harvest Tabernacle.
The Sandals Foundation’s annual Christmas toy distribution has become a tradition for children in Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Antigua, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, Grenada, and Barbados. This year, the joy was also spread to the resort’s newest island home of Curacao.
“Thank you to our partners at Hasbro for continuing to help us make the season even more special for children across the Caribbean, and to our team members who add the magic touch with gift wrapping and distribution, bringing joy to many young boys and girls,” said Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at Sandals Foundation.