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WJU student raises funds to support Belize orphanage

Dinner May 1 benefits Kings Children’s Home
By: Staff report
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Having a heart for orphaned children is nothing new to Jessica Landin. “I’ve always had a strong desire to help children who are orphaned,” she said. “I remember years back when I used to go online and see the faces of many kids who were waiting for a home.” That heart-felt desire settled deep within Landin, ultimately leading her to seek out the sister that her family eventually adopted from Samoa. “We adopted my sister when she was 6. Adopting her was something that my family decided to do, probably because I was so persistent,” Landin said. Now her sister is 12 and Landin continues to be compelled to make a difference for orphans. As a business major at William Jessup University, she decided to go on a winter break mission trip to Belize with other WJU students. The university team partnered with Pathlight ministries, an organization committed to providing education and resources to people in Belize. It was during this trip, while teaching art and music to orphans, that Landin met Leoni, the woman who runs Kings Children’s Home in Belmopan, Belize. “Leoni has taken in about 50 orphans. I was so touched when she told me that her hardest day of the week is Friday when she has to decide whether to pay some of the few workers who help her or feed the children,” Landin said. Now back in the states and preparing to graduate in May, Landin has poured herself into raising money for the orphanage. As part of her senior internship, she is hosting a benefit dinner; open to the community, to raise awareness about the orphanage. The dinner will be held at WJU’s lecture hall at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 1. “We are serving a traditional Belizean dinner, ‘Johnny Cakes’ and all, catered by Bon Appetite,” Landin said. “A common dessert in Belize is chocolate cake so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add it to our menu!” The event will be decorated with a red and blue theme, reflective of Belize’s national colors as well as tropical flower centerpieces. Landin will present a slideshow of her experiences in Belize and discuss the issues that are currently facing the orphanage. Funds raised will go toward the orphanage and its plans to expand. “Currently there are 50 kids living in a small concrete house,” Landin said. “Although they have the land to expand, they don’t have the funds.” An immediate need for the children of Kings Children’s Home is to fix the boards on the bunk beds that are strategically cramped in rooms to accommodate all of the children. “Some of the boards are breaking and the kids are falling through the bunks of their beds,” Landin said. “There is also a need to build shelves because the kids keep what little donated clothing they have on the ground and because of rodents, insects and dirt, their much-needed clothing is losing its longevity.” Tickets for the event are $28. For ticket information, contact Jessica Landin at jlandin@jessup.edu.