The gift of giving

“For it is in giving that we receive.”
– Francis of Assisi

Christmas is a time of giving, and in Cayman that spirit shines bright. Numerous fundraising efforts and holiday drives take place during the festive season to help make wishes come true. From food drives and hand-decorated ornaments to calendars and angel keepsakes, here are several ways to give back this season.

Cayman Watercolours Calendar
This annual calendar is a holiday favourite, celebrating Cayman’s heritage and close-knit community.

The calendar features reproductions of original watercolour paintings of scenes of the Cayman Islands by 14 local artists. The artists donate their works, which are auctioned earlier in the year. The contributors include professionals, recreational artists, students and teachers.

Featured on the cover this year is ‘Going Home’ by Bernadette Devlin, a painting that features two Caymanians sailing in a traditional catboat.

The calendar also includes local recipes with ties to the islands such as breadfruit chips, blackened lionfish, shrimp and crab nachos and salt fish cakes. It notes Cayman’s public holidays as well as major holidays throughout the world.

Proceeds benefit Jasmine and the National Council of Voluntary Organisations.
Priced at CI$15, the calendar can be purchased from the NCVO and Jasmine as well as various retail outlets on-island. Project sponsors Grant Thornton, Aureum Re and Conyers cover the cost of producing the calendars.

Hospice angels and sugar scrubs
Jasmine is once again selling handcrafted clay angel ornaments, made exclusively by Texan artist Jacqueline Thomas for hospices around the world. Each angel holds a meaningful gift, with this year’s angel carrying a North Star.

The angels sell for $20 and make beautiful gifts and collector’s items.

Jasmine is also selling sugar scrubs this year, which contain sugar, coconut oil and essential oils. Scents include gingerbread, peppermint and lavender. A great stocking stuffer, the scrubs sell for $10 each or three for $20.

Camana Bay Christmas Give
The Camana Bay Christmas Give is an annual initiative to help the community give back to those in need and provide a merry Christmas for all.

This year, the Give benefits Cayman Food Bank, which seeks to end island-wide hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Cayman Food Bank takes a different approach to traditional food banks by freezing perishable foods before distributing them to food pantries throughout the island, thereby minimising food waste.

“We are trying to link two problems we have – immense food waste and people going hungry,” Woody Foster, a founding member of Cayman Food Bank and managing director at Foster’s supermarkets, said in a media release.

Foster’s is heavily involved in the food bank’s work, donating much of the food that is distributed throughout the year.

“There’s still a lot more to be done, but it is rewarding to see food being put to use rather than wasted,” said Mr. Foster.

Launched two years ago, Cayman Food Bank has food pantries located across the island.

“We currently have six pantries we donate food to, and we also work with the Needs Assessment Unit,” he said.

There are several ways to support the Christmas Give. Stop by the Visitor Centre any time throughout the holiday season to collect a reusable Camana Bay bag. Included with it will be a copy of Cayman Food Bank’s reverse advent calendar, with daily suggestions of food items to donate. If you fill the bag and return it to the Visitor Centre, all food will be sent to the food bank to be distributed.

Other initiatives going on throughout the season include a fun cascading coin race in the cinema lobby, where children – and adults – can donate spare change, and a Festive Dress Down Day, which sees those who work in Camana Bay dressing in their festive gear in exchange for a donation to the Give.

“We need to raise funds year-round, but especially at Christmas time you want to be sure people have food on the table,” Mr. Foster added. “Working with Camana Bay on the Christmas Give is a great way for us to achieve this goal at this time of year.”

Kimpton Seafire Wish Tree
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa has set up a ‘Wish Tree’ in its lobby to raise funds for Feed Our Future.

The resort invites guests and residents to purchase an ornament at the front desk, with funds donated to the non-profit group. The ornaments were hand-decorated by the children of Seafire employees.

Feed our Futures provides free school meals to children in need. Around 200 Cayman children benefit from the programme each year.

The Kimpton Seafire’s holiday wish for 2020 of ‘No child left hungry’ was the inspiration behind the tree, said Jenna Snyman, manager of Camp Seafire, which features supervised programmes for children.

She said Camp Seafire coordinators were touched to be able to use their passion for kids to help Cayman’s community and be a part of a project that impacts the lives of children beyond its doors.

Wag Bags
Foster-based rescue group One Dog at a Time wants to ensure every puppy and dog in its care has a tail-wagging Christmas and New Year. The group is looking for donations of ‘Wag Bags’. They can be festively wrapped shoeboxes, bags or sacks, crammed full of goodies for a canine in need.

The boxes and bags can be used throughout the year to help the group assist dogs and their transition into new homes. The Wag Bags should be labelled whether for a puppy or a dog.

ODAAT volunteers can collect the boxes by prior arrangement or they can be dropped to the One Dog at a Time Shop, New 2 U, on Industrial Way.

Suggested contents for a puppy
Puppy shampoo, teething ring, puppy pads, collar, toys, blanket, puppy kibble, Nexguard, Heartguard, puppy canned food, rice pudding, gift voucher for Animal House or A.L. Thompson’s.

Suggested contents for an adult dog
Dog shampoo, dog conditioner, dog brush, dog treats, dog food, collar, toys, Nexguard, Heartguard, blanket, non-tip bowl, gift voucher for Animal House or A.L. Thompson’s.

Don’t forget the other animal welfare groups on your Christmas list – Cayman Islands Humane Society, Canine Friends Cayman, PAWS Cayman (Protection of Animal Welfare Society) and C.A.R.E. (Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts). All of these non-profit groups welcome donations to support their efforts in protecting and caring for Cayman’s animal friends.