Coming to the Placencia Peninsula on your Belize vacation? Great! You’ll have a wonderful time and encounter loads of warm, welcoming people. Do you want to give a bit more to these lovely communities than just your tourist dollars? That’s even better! Here are some of my favorite ways that you can “Pack for a Purpose” and bring donations to Placencia that will really be appreciated and used.
Sneakers for the Seine Bight Youth Running Club
New or used sneakers and socks are always needed for the youth running club. From children’s size 12 up to men’s 13 and every size in between! The Seine Bight Running Club can see as many as 70 children on any particular day and many of them are without proper footwear to practice. Any and all serviceable running shoes are appreciated. (kids 6-20 years)
Lifejackets and Rash Guards for the Placencia Sailing Club
The kid’s sailing club desperately needs new life jackets. As a rule, every member must wear a life vest during practice if they have even a toe in the water, whether they’re out on a boat or not. (Great rule!) But the current stock of jackets is insufficient, many are raggedy, dry rotted and the straps are broken. The kids need life jackets but they’d also like rash guards. You know the type of lightweight, quick-drying, UV blocking shirts you wear fishing and snorkeling: you can often get them for pennies on the dollar at end-of-season sales in the US and Canada. I know the Walmarts and Targets in New Jersey would always have these marked down at the end of the summer- grab them on clearance and make these kids’ day! (kids 8-18 years) The Sailing Club also needs 10 more air bags for their Optimists; these are buoyancy bags that help right the boats when they’ve capsized- critical equipment!
Flea and Tick Treatment for our Furry Friends
Orals, topicals, or collars- any flea or tick treatments you bring can be used on some four-legged friend around here. Either the Placencia Humane Society or Erica Holding’s Animal Rescue is happy to receive any donation for dog and cat care. Even the knock-off version of Frontguard at our pharmacy is pricey, most people don’t have the extra means to pamper their pets here. If your grocery store or pet supply place back home has some on sale, the pups in Placencia would been very appreciative to receive a treatment. (**disclaimer: I’m not sure if you’re technically supposed to bring this sort of stuff on airlines so I’d toss it in my toiletry bag inside my checked luggage so no one was the wiser)
Little Free Libraries
Bring some books to leave in our lending libraries. Placencia has 2 official sites: one at Merl’s Cafe and another outside the Community Center but some hotels and coffee shops also have take-a-book, leave-a-book shelves. It’s a small village so wherever you leave your books you can pretty much count on them making the rounds.
Science and Conservation
Lots of people bring supplies for our local elementary schools- awesome! The Crocodile Research Coalition could also use some of those school/ arts and crafts supplies for their outreach efforts. Pipe cleaners, construction paper, tape and glue sticks. They also always need electric tape and AAA batteries for headlamps which they use during observation excursions and when handling wildlife.
Gift Ideas for your Local Friends
I’m adding this section for repeat/ return visitors to Belize that want to bring little gifts for the tour guide they love or the bartender they got friendly with last year or what-have-you. People sometimes ask for suggestions on gift ideas they can bring with them that would be useful or appreciated because it is a hard-to-get-item here. I have a few ideas…
Bike Accessories for one! Definitely bike lights would be a GREAT gift (bonus if you include a pack of batteries), the little head and rear lights that either flash or stay constant to illuminate dark roads and make you visible to drivers. Very useful gift, I wish everyone had them. Also any other bike add-ons like basket, cup holder, seat cover, or replacement tire tubes because the ones we get here are either garbage or they’re already half dry-rotten.
Goggles or snorkel masks. Great gift for kids or for fishermen/ boaters. We can never seem to get enough goggles and masks and this is another very useful gift that would be appreciated and utilized here.
Consumables. If you’re a Canadian from a town that makes great maple syrup- that’s a great gift! Is there anyone that doesn’t like a box of chocolates? Consumables are an easy crowd-pleaser present for anyone from a taxi driver to the cleaning girl at your hotel.