Weddings are always a time of major planning. However, Darrell and I wanted to spend less time planning and more time celebrating with friends and family. Based on this desire, we decided to have a destination wedding. Curacao would be the place.
We informed family and friends and the countdown began. The main question that we received from everyone was: What can we get you as a Wedding Gift?
We decided that we would donate our Wedding Gifts to charity, but what Charity? We researched several charitable organizations, left messages, emailed contacts, and then Darrell found Pack for a Purpose. We had an immediate response from Rebecca Rothney, founder of Pack for a Purpose. Not only was her response immediate, it was energized, sincere, and appreciative. It was obvious that Rebecca was working for people in need and would do anything she could to help us in our endeavor. And on top of that, she was able to connect us with not just one, but two great charities supported by the Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort that both really seemed excited about our upcoming visit.
We, along with all of our guests arrived in Curacao safely, excited for the upcoming event. We had asked that all of our guests bring whatever items they could fit in their suitcases to donate.
We had a collection area and then we arranged for transportation from our resort to deliver the goods to each of the organizations on the agreed upon days. We knew that it may be a lot to ask of our guests to take two separate trips to donate the items they had brought, but when we asked if anyone wanted to come along to either of the organizations, “everyone” wanted to go. Our first trip was to Fundashon Amigunan di Cristo, an After-School Program.
Since everyone had expressed interest in going, we requested a 29 passenger van. And to our excitement, every seat was filled.
And when the day arrived to visit the second organization, Siloam Children’s Hospice and Orphanage, we had another packed van loaded with our wedding guests, all filled with the same excitement as the first trip. This was one of the best feelings in the world, knowing that our friends and family had not only come to celebrate our wedding, but also shared our passion for giving to those in need.
Fundashon Amigunan di Cristo, the After-School Program that Pack for a Purpose connected us with, was amazing. Emma and her husband have graciously opened their home to care for the children of their community.
I can’t imagine the struggles that these children would face without the generosity and selflessness of not only Emma and her husband, but the many individuals who have chosen to donate their time and resources to help make their program a success.
The second organization that we had the pleasure of visiting, Siloam Children’s Hospice and Orphanage, was equally amazing.
It was so wonderful to know that our donations would be put to good use. This wonderful group of people have dedicated their lives to caring for children who are possibly in their last stages of life, or simply just in need of shelter. Their passion for these children is so evident.
In retrospect, the trips to the After School Program and Hospice back to the resort took about an hour and a half per trip, which is only a total of about three hours out of a seven day vacation. I can say that it was truly worth the small amount of time that it took. In that short amount of time, we were able to impact the lives of many deserving children and show appreciation to two programs that are proof that great people truly exist. It also was a sign to our family and friends that “Charity” is truly the greatest virtue. The children of Curacao will forever be a part of our lives and a part of one of the most important milestones in our life.
Pack for a Purpose is a unique and heartwarming movement. We all travel. When you stop to acknowledge that traveling is a privilege that many in the world are not awarded, you can’t help but be thankful. Out of thankfulness, the desire to help those in need is born. I will always “Pack for a Purpose” going forward. I also plan to help spread the word that this movement exists. If we all Pack for a Purpose, we can change the world- one suitcase at a time.