BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 19, 2011
Ending hunger among children in Belize amid a poverty rate of 43% is a gargantuan but doable task, and one humble Belize City man is doing all he can for up to 25 children who attend school in his community, to ensure they can eat at least one full meal during the lunch hour. “From day to day, it is a struggle to put food on the table for the children,” said Joel “Dara” Robinson, who is going on his fourth continuous year running the program.
At the end of this month, Dara will launch a food drive for the children. Anyone wishing to donate perishable food items can find him at the corner of Bishop and Albert Streets in Belize City, in front of Venus Photos and Records, and drop their donations inside his barrel.
On February 5, 2011, Robinson is also hosting the Annual Bob Marley Concert to raise funds for the feeding program. The event will take place in the evening at the MCC Tennis Court and the entrance fee of $5 goes towards feeding the children.
Dara said that as long as he has health and strength, he will continue the feeding program, because he, too, knows what it is like to not have anything to eat: “I lived through this and I know how important it is when you can go to someone and get a plate of food.”
The week following the fundraiser and food drive, culminating on February 5, Dara will distribute some of the food items to needy families who, he said, are struggling from day to day to survive.
He expresses his thanks to Carol Palma and Miss Anne, who are regular donors, as well as the Customs Department, which donates from time to time, and Baby Zinc: two men nicknamed White and Sticks, who recently donated a 10-pound sack of rice. Smiling Meats also assists sometimes with meat donations.
The help, said Dara, can be as simple as donating a chicken, because they sometimes have to cook two, three chickens for the day.
“Meat is the expense. Meat, gas and seasoning – that is where the expense is,” he added.
He urged those who call to pledge donations to please follow through with their commitments.
In the words of Bill Ayres, US talk show host, and co-founder and executive director of the organization WhyHunger, “We want to take people’s success stories and re-write the ‘story’ of hunger. There are things that have been working, and things we know can work. It may once have seemed like a hopeless story, but we’re changing it to a hopeful one. This is healing on a social level.”
Dara can be reached at: 623-3662.
by Adele Ramos
Article courtesy Amandala