At the beginning of November, a group with Bridgewater Candle Company traveled to the Good Shepherd orphanage in Honduras to see the difference a candle can make. The group was made up of a few Bridgewater employees, some members of the Bridgewater sales team, a magazine editor, and a Bridgewater retailer – all of whom play a role in the success of Bridgewater. This four-day journey in Honduras opened our eyes and our hearts to the impact Bridgewater products have on the Good Shepherd orphanage through the LIGHT A CANDLE • FEED A CHILD™ program.
With every candle you purchase, it feeds a child 3 meals – for one day. The children at Good Shepherd are some of the recipients of the LIGHT A CANDLE • FEED A CHILD™ (LACFAC) program.
Each day of the trip, we experienced their everyday lives at Good Shepherd. We were shocked by how open the children were to us. You have this mental picture of what a child at an orphanage should be like or act like – the sadness, the hate. We were so wrong.
“I was blown away by the reaction of the kids when we met them the first day. Their faces lit up and many of them ran up to us, many of whom we had never met before. They were so full of love and excited to spend time with us.” – Lindsey Cobb, Territory Manager (pictured below)
We played with them, ate with them, and opened our hearts to them.
"Whether it was playing soccer, playing "Miss Mary Mack", being pushed on swings, or climbing me like a jungle gym, all the kids just wanted someone to care for them and play with them and show them that they were special. That's when my heart really filled for Good Shepherd Children's Home.” - Patrick Keiser, Recruiting and Training at One Coast (pictured below)
I, the photographer, was blessed to observe the mindset shift of those on the trip. These children became more than the faces on the back of hangtags. If you have ever looked on the back of a Bridgewater candle fragrance hangtag, you will see the smiling face of a child looking back up at you. These faces are children fed by LACFAC, and are some of the children that we met in Honduras. But as we connected, bonded, laughed, and loved these sweet children, we realized that there is so much more to these candles than meets the eye.
It is more than just a candle that we make and ship out the door. It is more than just a candle we promote to retailers. It is more than just a candle we sell in our boutiques. It is more than just a candle we write about. It is these children we are feeding by making, selling, and purchasing these candles. The very children that we spent days holding their hands, hugging them, and watching them cry as we leave.
“The last day when we went up to meet the kids for breakfast & walk them to school, the kids from casita 1 (the 4-7 year olds) were waiting for us at the corner, sitting on a rock wall, all had made cards & pictures for us to take home (pictured below). We all got big hugs, and at the same time were being asked "you're leaving today, right". They were sad we were leaving, but I hope that they know that there are lots of people out there that care for them. I won't ever forget that moment.” – Michelle Swearengin, Central Reginal Manager of One Coast
These children give what we do as a company purpose. Now, when I look up from my desk at the library of Bridgewater Candles across the room, I associate them with these sweet faces and my heart is warmed.
Thankfully, I am not the only one who felt this way after our trip to Honduras.
“Thanks to this journey and Bridgewater’s LIGHT A CANDLE • FEED A CHILD™, I can confidently share the difference one company in our industry is making to fight against the global hunger crisis. Our choices in home good products and by extension our philanthropic support serves a much greater purpose.” – Brooke Brown, Contributing Editor for Home Accents Today (pictured below)
“I am more grateful for what we have, I am more willing to giving to others, I want to provide more to those in need. I will return to Honduras and Good Shepherd.” – John Keiser, CEO of One Coast (pictured below)
We were beyond grateful with the opportunity to travel to Honduras. It changed our perspective and our lives and will undoubtedly continue to do so.
Innovation Project Manager, Photographer