San Pedro Club Foregoes Dinner and Dancing for Service

It was an anniversary that was supposed to be marked by dinner and dancing. But with COVID-19 restrictions in place, the 22 members of the San Pedro Lions Club in Belize had to come up with a new way to celebrate.

La Isla Bonita Belize
Lions in Belize hand out treats along with masks to celebrate their 45th anniversary.

The pandemic hit their small island community especially hard. San Pedro is “La Isla Bonita” made famous in Madonna’s song of the same name and relies on tourism as its main source of income. On lockdown since March 23, 2020, seventy percent of the community was left without a source of income.

The small San Pedro club is used to responding for their community during times of need. “When there’s natural disasters, both locally and internationally or fire disaster, we have always been the ones to respond,” says club president Marina Kay. Typically, they host radio-a-thons to raise funds and run clothing drives to give to victims of the disasters.

The pandemic was no different. Recognizing the need, Lions sprang into action, hosting three food pantries, helping families find housing, and cooking and serving lunch to frontline workers.

But by October it was clear they would also have to put their big 45th anniversary celebration plans on hold. Dinner and dancing wasn’t in the cards for a community still being hard-hit by COVID-19. So, they changed their plans.

Instead, Lions handed out 150 face masks. They set up on the side of the street and handed them out to anyone walking or driving by, offering up a cool refreshment to go along with it.

La Isla Bonita Belize Lions Club
More than seventy percent of the community has been left jobless since the lockdown began in March. Treats from Lions help put a smile on their (masked) faces.

“The people in the community were so happy and appreciative, and we were too,” says Kay.