There is nothing as exciting and potentially life-altering as an amazing vacation, but wouldn’t it be even better to do some good while you are enjoying yourself? Our family was able to make this happen on our recent trip to Belize. We travelled to Placencia, Belize, which is an area at the southern tip of the Placencia Peninsula, bordering the Caribbean Sea. Our goal was to explore Belize and also to scuba dive, hopefully with the elusive whale sharks that migrate through this area that time of the year.
While preparing for our trip, I discovered that our hotel, The Turtle Inn, which is one of the many Family Coppola Hideaway resorts, participated in the Pack for a Purpose initiative. I was intrigued by the idea of helping to make a difference for individuals and organizations in need while we travelled, so I decided that my family and I would get involved with the program.
Both my husband and daughter were excited about helping to bring donations to Belize. We each cleared as much space in our suitcases as we could to fit the supplies. We scoured our house for items to donate and were amazed at how easily we accumulated a large donation pile. We packed notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, scissors, erasers along with various other supplies, as well as over a dozen calculators! My daughter Sam, who is seventeen and a high school senior, became especially enthusiastic about the program. It was eye-opening for her to realize that so many children lack even the most basic of supplies, things that she takes for granted in everyday life.
While in Belize, we met with the manager of The Turtle Inn, Martin Krediet, who explained the initiative in more detail to us and showed us photos of the children in the villages receiving their new backpacks filled with items donated through PfaP. These photos especially made a big impact on my daughter. She became so inspired that after our trip, she reached out to the head of her school in an attempt to have more people take part in the program. Since that time, my daughter involved her entire school and made PfaP her class project. We are preparing to ship the first of our boxes full of donations soon and plan to send more through the course of the year.
This experience enhanced our travel in so many ways. Helping others in need allowed me a real life opportunity to teach my children to give back to others. It is one thing to talk about the need to help others, but this allowed us to actually give back alongside our children, demonstrating for them both how strong those needs are and how fulfilling it can be to do for others. It also enhanced our travel because of the people we met through our involvement in the program. Many of them we have kept in touch with since our trip and I have no doubt that these will be lasting friendships.
My hope is that others are inspired to Pack for a Purpose on their next vacation. Remember, a small gift of a donation can make a Big Impact on someone’s life.