A Vacation Volunteer’s Story – by Carol TaylorI’ve been a voluntourist with SAGA Humane Society for five years now. After receiving a record-breaking 12 feet of snow in Boston in 2015, I opted to run away from winter the following year and spent several months working remotely from San Pedro. Having worked with numerous animal shelters over the past 20 years, I contacted SAGA Humane Society, where I was welcomed with open arms & quickly inducted into a whirlwind of fundraising events via baptism by tequila. My favorite one is the annual Kelly McGuire birthday fundraiser, which is held at one of my all-time favorite island hangouts, the Palapa Bar and Grill. Owners/animal lovers, Scott and Jodie Harnish have been generously hosting this birthday bash in their venue for several years. The party always attracts a great crowd, thanks to the Palapa Bar’s fun atmosphere, Kelly’s massive following, and a large number of SAGA supporters. The last time I was here was a month before the pandemic shut the world down. That year, I dragged along one of my childhood besties, Cathy Kedski, who joined me in selling raffle tickets. This was Cathy’s first vacation abroad in years, and she had so much fun, she can’t wait to return to San Pedro. This year, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I should have known better. The event was sold out, including the additional seating on the dock. People were in a great mood, looking forward to live music from the birthday boy, Kelly Mcguire — and ready to open their wallets for SAGA. Every table I hit up, responded generously. Kelly is not only an amazing musician but a great emcee and auctioneer — and generous to a fault. He even auctioned the shirt off his back for $500! This year we were able to raise $7,500 BZD, which will go towards SAGA’s spay/neuter efforts on the island.
Easy Meaningful VolunteeringIf you want a relatively quick, easy way to enjoy a heartfelt volunteer experience on the island, an opportunity is coming soon. The San Pedro Belize Red Cross (SPBRC) is hosting a blood drive. Saturday, February 26, the San Pedro Red Cross will hold its first quarterly blood drive of 2022 at the Polyclinic from 8:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. Give the Gift of Life. Healthy San Pedranos, ex-pats, and tourists aged 18-65 are all welcome! To make an appointment call – 615 4300, 614 9115, 615 2005, or 630 2005. Walk-ins are welcome. Please come well-rested, eat a healthy breakfast or lunch, and be nutritionally hydrated before donating. Interesting Red Cross news – The Belize Red Cross was one of the partner agencies to help in a Southside Urban Garden Initiative in Belize City. The urban garden areas are meant to provide young people in a disadvantaged area, with a safe and educational neighborhood option.