Christmas Gifts from Belize That Give Back to the Belizean Community

by Carolee Chanona

Is it too early to think about Christmas shopping? While being with your loved ones to celebrate Christmas is quite literally a gift in itself (especially with travel restrictions), consider a gift that gives back to the Belizean community. After all, the holidays are all about spending time with family, being thankful for those you love, and giving back. A small percentage of proceeds from your purchase might not seem like a lot. But, when combined with the efforts of others, they can lead up to a sizable donation. Charitable giving is an important aspect of the holiday season, but it can be tricky to budget your holiday spending. We’ve rounded up a few favorites that give back, so you can support worthy causes by purchasing gifts for friends and family. This season, think about purchasing Christmas gifts in Belize that give back to someone, or something, in need.

Adopt An Animal from The Belize Zoo

baby ocelot flood victim the belize zoo adopt

Consider adopting an animal at The Belize Zoo, like this ocelot cub rescued from the 2020 floods in Belize. Photo by The Belize Zoo

Called the best little zoo in the world, The Belize Zoo (TBZ) offers an immersive wildlife experience, located just 29 miles west of Belize City and stretching across 29 acres of tropical savanna. Home to over 200 native animals, The Belize Zoo began as a sanctuary for injured and orphaned wildlife, later blossoming into the premiere education and conservation center it also is today. As restrictions during the pandemic presented unprecedented challenges to keep animals fed and well-cared for, community efforts from both individuals and businesses alike allowed The Belize Zoo to survive. This season, consider adopting an animal in Belize this festive season as a Christmas gift for the animal lover! Storms and floods this year also brought new rescued animals to their doors, like the orphaned ocelot cub (pictured)— and none are turned away.

“After 8 long months, the challenges continue to ensure our animals are cared for, our staff is paid, and the lights stay on.”
– Sharon Matola, Founding Director 

By adopting a hairy, furry, feathered or scaly Belize local for a year, fees go directly into food, medicine and pampering of your chosen adoptive animal. Nonetheless, with each adoption, you’ll digitally receive:

  • Official certificate of adoption
  • Photo of your adopted animal
  • A fascinating fact sheet about your adopted animal’s activities, habitat and diet
  • Subscription to the Belize Zooletter for one year

Adopt an animal at The Belize Zoo here

Belize Chocolate Company’s Buy One, Give One Deal

In the spirit of giving, in what has been an incredibly challenging and difficult time for so many, the Belize Chocolate Company are offering a Buy One, Give One deal on their “Gud Mawnin Belize” gift boxes. Available now through December 23, the Belize Chocolate Company will donate a chocolate treat box to a local family on Ambergris Caye. Although for every box purchased, a family will receive one (safely) hand-delivered to their house on Christmas Eve! Please consider helping to make a family’s Christmas a little bit more cheerful this year with the gift of chocolate. Even if you don’t want one for yourself, consider gifting one to your favorite tour guide, dive instructor, or bartender on the island. Besides, a Christmas that starts with chocolate? Now that’s a “gud maning” indeed!

Not to mention, the Belize Chocolate Company ships internationally. Learn more here

#TheWorldCan T-Shirt: Benefiting Staff of Matachica & GAIA

All proceeds from the sale of Matachica Resort’s The World Can t-shirts will help their staff in Belize who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The phrase is intended to inspire feelings of hope and optimism during this uncertain moment; individuals are encouraged to participate in the campaign by completing the phrase with a word that is meaningful and true for you. Each t-shirt design features a custom illustration from renowned illustrator Cécile Gariépy who designed the beautiful murals in Matachica’s private casitas as well as the signage you see throughout the property. The unisex t-shirts are produced by the sustainable fashion brand, Kotn, and are ethically made of high-quality, Egyptian cotton. Additionally, each t-shirt is named to honor a staff member: GAÏA Riverlodge’s gardener who runs the hotel’s organic garden; one of the servers at Matachica’s award-winning Mambo restaurant; one of Matachica’s tour guides.

Purchase The Sam, The Abi, or The Charlie here.

Ambergris Caye COVID Relief Cookbook

ambergris caye covid cookbook options

In the peak of lockdown restrictions and COVID-19’s deep ripples on the tourism-dependent San Pedro, resident Kimberly Wylie created the Ambergris Caye COVID Relief Cookbook. Inside, find over 90 recipes from local restaurateurs, chefs, Ambergris Caye residents, and visitors; plus, a dozen photos that capture Belize’s inherent natural beauty. Although Cypress Canyon Publishing is not a non-profit organization, 100% of profits of sales are donated to the Lunch Program. Developed by Maresha Reid, the owner of Pirate’s Treasure and Pirate’s Secret Beach, Reid instinctively saw the need to feed the people on the island. Starting with 80 recipients on March 24th, the program continues to grow, with close to 400 recipients three times a week. Altogether for every $10 spent, the Hot Lunch Program supplies 5 meals.

The Ambergris Caye Covid Relief Cookbook is available to purchase in paperback, hardback or mobile here.

A Travel Voucher to any Muy’Ono Resort

Muy’Ono has always been vocally committed to the local community. All Muy’Ono Resorts embrace Muy’Ono’s spirit of giving back to the community through the “Commitment to Community” program, pledging to make donations to local causes with every booking, every night. Besides, this community effort offers guests a no-obligation option to match the donation already made on their behalf; guests can donate any amount they choose in support of the local community programs chosen by the individual resorts. However, through this program, multiple libraries, schools, humane societies, preservation associations, and more have received the necessary funding for success. Moreover in 2019, Muy’Ono donated $133,380 to local charity partners. In addition to the night-for-night donation program, Muy’Ono Resorts proudly supports Pack for A Purpose, inviting guests to pack extra items in their suitcase to donate directly to students in need. After all, spending Christmas in Belize is a gift in itself.

Give the gift of Belize with a travel voucher to a Muy’Ono Resort and take advantage of their ‘Stay 5, Pay 4’ offer. 

Have a Christmas gift suggestion to add to the list that gives back to the Belize community? We’d love to include it! Contact us here. This blog was originally published on November 11, 2020 and continues to be updated.

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