By Benjamin Flowers
Belize City youth will be able to enjoy summer camps and follow-up activities in the future, thanks to Belize Camping Experience’s fundraising efforts over the weekend.
Through the initiative, farmers in the Orange Walk district donated some of their land for BCE to plant on; the corn harvested is then sold and the proceeds are then used to fund the organization’s activities.
The event saw nine combined harvesters reap some 40 acres worth of corn on Saturday, October 10 in the Mennonite community of Central Farm. Over 200 people, including the beneficiaries of the BCE’s activities, came out to watch the event.
According to Josie Gongora, volunteer with BCE, the corn was planted on June 17, and despite a prolonged drought, the fields still managed to yield some 40 sacks of corn per acre, for a total of 1,600 sacks.
“With this shortage of rain many farmers had lost their crops, but we still managed to get so much out of the fields.” Gongora said. “We believe that God wants us to continue to reach these kids through our camps and our different activities.”
She added that the growers left two rows of corn for children to harvest manually, so they would have a sense of ownership of the event. Gongora maintains that the BCE’s efforts are to inspire children of south side Belize City to become respectable, productive, law-abiding citizens.
The event was facilitated through several private sector entities such as Midwest Steel, which donated the seeds; Prosser Fertilizer and Agrotec Limited, Agro Base, and BelAgro, which donated the fertilizer; and Westrac Limited, which sponsored the tilling of the soil.
The BCE is also scheduled to harvest some 40 acres of soy beans, in the Blue Creek community next month. The Harvest for Kids initiative is in its fourth year; BCE also has an arrangement with Circle R, which gets them a portion of the sale of each bag of rice.