Monday, January 25, 2010

Lending a Helping Hand to Haiti

At we are all about having fun and being on the beach, but we are also about family. Our company mission statement is, "To treat everyone like family while having more fun than humanly possible in the process!" Patricia Southall has been a member of our family now for just over three years as a Caribbean Consultant, and she is now doing something very special for the people down in Haiti. Below is an email Pat sent our entire company this week. Her heartfelt words moved me as I'm sure they will you. Here are just a few pictures of Pat's trip to Haiti last weekend. If you would like to help in Pat's efforts, please email her directly. We are taking care of her flights and helping with in any way we can, but it was her who felt compelled to make the journey to Port Au Prince. By the sound of it she's going to be making many more trips in the days ahead. We support Pat's efforts, and her courage, compassion, and caring are what make us incredibly proud to have her as part of our family at

Pat's Email:
Hi Everyone, for those of you who don't know me my name is Pat Southall and am an agent with for the past 3 years. It was with a heavy heart that I watched the earthquake in Haiti unfold. I had many friends with families throughout the city of Port Au Prince and the countryside. I tried to contact my friends: Neil, Bertrand, Lourdie,Giovanni,Rony, Magali and others in the affected areas. All I received were busy signals. The following day I was able to make contact with Neil Jean Louis. His son was missing. A few days later, I was delighted to find everyone was safe. Neil and his family were born and raised in Haiti. For years, I have spent time with Neil, his family and other friends in the D.R and Haiti. They were always so inviting, hospitable and so loyal.

As the news of Haiti intensified I knew I had to act. I called Neil and told him I would arrive on Friday with as many supplies as I could. Erin Kirchner, who met Neil on our fam trip to Punta Cana 3 years ago, and I set things in motion. In less than one week we had collected $1700 and a car full of supplies. Neighbors, friends, coworkers had provided luggage, shoes, clothes, diapers, food items, first aid items, tents, blankets and so much more.

I arrived in Santo Domingo and met Neil and Giovanni at the airport. We headed to the food market to purchase bread, water, feminine care products, personal care products (toothbrushes, toothpaste), baby wipes, baby food and formula,ect. Our car was filled to maximum capacity. As we crossed the border into Haiti the devastation was incomprehensible. The desperation in the eyes of the Haitians was deep; family members lost or dead; children with cuts and bruises; parents dazed; the basic necessities - food and water were no where to be found. Their homes in ruin...their lives upside down.

We provided Neil and his family - which had grown in numbers as they found displaced members of their church - bread and water. Tents were pitched and each and every item we had bought used by all - shared by all. A nearby shelter housed hundreds of people - all who had not eaten in days. A little boy dug from beneath the rubble had lacerations on the back of his head that were stitched with no anestetic. Another young girl could not even muster a smile - she lost her whole family -mother, grandmother and siblings. A stoic woman stood tall despite the fact she had no surviving family members. Sights, sounds and smells I will never forget. I felt more than ever compelled to help these people.

Upon my return, Erin and I had more strength than before. We contacted our friends, relatives, Cheap Caribbean, churches, businesses to help support our cause. Currently we are working on a setting up a fund at a local bank for any monetary donations. I connected with others, Philip and Mark, on my return trip and we are now a united front and will merge our efforts to get as much as we can to Neil, his family and "adopted" family in the nearby shelter. There project is to collect 5,000 tents. Our goal is to collect monetary donations, first aid supplies, clothing, medicine and food items. One of the little boys I met in the shelter had never had Pepperidge Farm goldfish until I brought them along - he kept referring to them as little fishes - so amused by the shape. I handed out Cheap Caribbean coloring books and crayons to all the children - it made me laugh to watch them grab a brown marker to color Caribbean Jim appropriately.

Our efforts, while minimal, made an impact on others in the most desperate of situations. And that felt really amazing.........

Many of you asked if they could help. YES, We need your help. First of all (very important), we need to see if people can donate miles to purchase 5 round trip flights from the States to Santo Domingo. Secondly, we mainly need money to purchase supplies since we are restricted to the amount of weight we can take with us. We can also use medicines, food, clothes, bags and other items. Our target date is 02.05 to 02.07 Friday to Sunday ( or Thursday night to Sunday night) Erin and her husband will be joining my boyfriend and myself along with our friend Philip on this second trip.The need is urgent. Even $1 dollar will make a difference.
You can send a check to either myself or Erin. However, in a day or 2 we should have a non-profit funds account set up for you.
please feel free to email us directly with questions: or

Please take a moment to view the pictures from my trip this past weekend but also see what my friends Mark and Philip are doing to help us.

Personally, I would like to say a special thank you to Erin,Mark, Philip and everybody at CheapCaribbean for their help and support!!

Pat Southall

Best regards,

Patricia W. Southall
Caribbean Consultant
Inter Island Tours
Toll Free: (800) 915-2322, ext.7519
Direct: 215-348-8410

"Wouldn't you rather be on the beach?"

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