Woodstock businessman helping children in Belize
With the season of giving just around the corner, a local businessman in Woodstock, N.B., is getting ready to help people who live thousands of kilometres away.
Guy Stewart has turned a vacant building into a depot to help 17 children in Belize.
“Some are orphans, some aren't, but most have been removed from their parents because of abuse," says Stewart.
The building is the former Sears location that closed a few years ago. It wasn’t until recently that Stewart realized what he wanted to do with it.
Stewart sold his business six years ago and started looking for a way to give back. It took him five years to find his calling.
“September of last year I sat down in front of my computer for the 100th time and typed in ‘mission opportunities in Belize,’” says Stewart. “For some reason I was drawn to Belize. Now I know why."
Stewart has travelled to Belize and says the money collected from items sold at the centre will go towards a college education for some of the orphans there.
"Our goal is to provide enough money for them to go to college so they can break out of the cycle of poverty they've been born into," he says.
A full year of tuition, uniforms, lodging and meals totals around $3,000 CDN for teens to go to college in Belize.
Stewart says that figure is reasonable in the Maritimes, but out of reach for these children.
“There are no programs to help them, no student loans. So unless somebody helps them, they are going to go right back into what they were born in," he says.
Along with helping out children in Belize, Stewart will also be giving back to those in Woodstock.
"I can't expect people in this area to donate if some good isn't going to come back into the community.”
Stewart opened the centre on Friday.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ashley Blackford.