Welcome signs get me every time. Walking to the curb of the Port-au-Prince Airport, I saw a beaming face with a multi-colored handwritten sign proclaiming “Welcome Bridgewater Candles.” It was something about the decorative care and nature of this hand-made sign that made me immediately feel the connection between Bridgewater and Haiti.
Max was the smiling face eager to greet us. He stuck out his hand to say hello, which I immediately bypassed and swooped straight in for a hug. What he didn’t know is that I had already heard his story from miles away and recognized his face from the pictures. Cue the welling up of my eyes. "You can’t cry yet, you’ve been here 5 minutes. Seriously, it’s really only been 5 minutes! Pull yourself together."
More on Max later. Back to the reason we were visiting Haiti in the first place, Light a Candle Feed a Child. Bridgewater partners with a non-profit organization called Rice Bowls that provides food for orphans around the world. During our trip, we traveled across Southern Haiti, meeting the smiling faces of kids who enjoy the meals provided by Bridgewater & Rice Bowls.
One question you’ve probably asked yourself: So what exactly does it mean when I purchase a candle & it provides 3 meals? How exactly am I feeding kids?
The power of the Light a Candle Feed a Child Program is what I had the opportunity to see in action:
But how do you know the money is going towards food?
Each orphanage is required to submit their meal plans and menu to maintain accountability. Rice Bowls can drop in at anytime and they must be feeding the children the meals that are outlined on the menu.
So here’s where Max comes in. He grew up in a Rice Bowls supported orphanage. Fast-forward to today, the story has come full circle and he is now involved in helping the children at his local Pastor’s orphanage. Because of Max’s efforts, it is now a Rice Bowls supported home that we were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit. When we arrived, we were greeted with yet another welcome sign – this one even larger and hand-decorated with glitter. As the kids sang us songs and showed us their dance moves, the abundance of love, joy and smiles was overwhelming.
When I look back on our time in Haiti, it’s really hard to come up with words more descriptive than “amazing,” “life-changing,” and “powerful.” Every day was so full of emotion. I cried, I laughed, I danced. I left the singing up to someone else (you’re welcome.)
But at the end of the day, here’s what I know:
So let’s keep this going and continue to spread goodness in the world. Thank you for being a part of our journey.
Bridgewater Candles Digital Sales Manager