EXUMA, BAHAMAS — The Sandals Foundation continues to spread holiday cheer this year with more than 10,000 children across the Caribbean set to receive brand new toys and games through the foundation’s annual Christmas Toy Drive.
The Toy Drive has been a staple calendar event for more than 10 years through generous donations from United States toy company Hasbro, and the kind support of Sandals and Beaches Resorts team members, guests, travel agents and partners.
While the customary parties were not held, this year’s approach galvanized the logistical support of the Salvation Army, police force, schools and local community groups to carefully distribute more than 10,800 toys to children within the foundation’s programmes and spheres of influence. All while bearing in mind the health and safety protocols of the respective countries.
The joyful cheer of some 600 children rang through the streets of Exuma on December 21 and 22 as they were surprised with beautifully wrapped gifts by a team of ambassadors from the Sandals Emerald Bay Resort.
Transported by a festively decorated van bearing the famed Santa Clause, Mrs Clause and their elves and guided by members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the team carefully distributed the toys throughout various communities on the island, to the Exuma Medical Center and to children of essential workers as well as officers of police the force.
On New Providence, the Christmas cheer was no less pervasive. Approximately 600 children in the capital also benefited from the annual Toy Drive. Sandals Royal Bahamian on New Providence partnered with entities such as Voices of Pinewood, Pace Christian Academy, Gennie Dean Caring and Sharing Cancer Support Group, P.A.C.E Foundation and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, among others. Children affiliated with these organizations were elated, to say the least.
Sandals Foundation Executive Director Heidi Clarke said in light of the challenges experienced this year, it was critical to maintain a semblance of normalcy, especially during the holidays.
“Christmas is a magical time for children and this year should be no different,” she said. “Because it has been such a tough time for families across the Caribbean, it was even more important for us to do what we could to help bring joy and of course a sense of hope through the delivery of these toys.
“Our partners have been truly supportive of our mission and we are pleased that we have been able to find a way to get these toys safely in the hands of some of our most deserving children.”