Cindy and Bob Thomas will be travelling to Roatan, Honduras for another Christmas adventure come December.
At first, the couple was unsure about returning this year as Gary and his wife Chris Storrs were held back due to medical reasons. Mr. Storrs typically dresses up as Santa Claus while on their trip.
“We’re just going to go down and spend some time with that group we usually help; Roatan Because We Care,” said Cindy Thomas.
Roatan is a part of the Honduras’s Caribbean Bay Islands. The total population was last recorded to be approximately 50,000 in 2008 according to Wikipedia.
“There’s so many little communities on this tiny island like the whole island is the size of the Valley in Drumheller from say Nacmine to East Coulee,” said Thomas. “It’s only about as wide as the widest part of the Valley too.”
She described the scene as something that is almost completely unheard of in Canada.
“They live on top of the garbage piles and when the big tractor comes and moves the garbage, they literally have to move their houses,” said Thomas.
Despite this, the community was felt to be strong and appreciative for Thomas group holiday visits and gifts.
“You would not believe the community,” exclaimed Thomas.
Santa’s bag was always stocked with candy canes. The van or whatever kind of transportation they had was filled with items for both boys and girls.
“We had this van and the children were on the sides of the road and Gary or ‘Santa’ had the window open and he just hollered ‘Ho,Ho,Ho.’ and kids just came out of the trees,” described Thomas.
“They were there and gone; the hundreds and hundreds of kids.”
The couple will be accepting donations again in September of next year, just in time for their next trip. All items can be dropped off at the Western Chevrolet dealership in Drumheller.
Donations have already started pouring in.
“We’re taking donations of stuff so if anybody has stuff that they want to donate and take down, we’re collecting it all the time,” said Thomas.
They are looking for any type of basic necessities, especially girls underwear.
“The girls there, they all wear dresses,” said Thomas. “Hardly any of the girls wear pants but none of them have underwear. It’s just a really hard thing to find down there.”
Mark's Work Wearhouse has been collecting this essential item since last year.
“When I was telling Myra Kuhl about that, she said ‘You know what, I’m going to see what I can do here’, and all year she’s been helping out by talking to people at the other Mark’s Work Warehouses and apparently they’ve been collecting boxes of underwear for us.”
Lightweight little toys are also accepted.
Thomas hopes to post lots of videos and photos on Facebook to keep everyone in the loop. She is already looking forward to the next couple of years.
“We already have our room booked for next year so we are definitely doing it on a large scale next year.”