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St. Lucia Project

One of the biggest trends in travel, especially for baby boomers, is the idea of volunteer vacations. Michael and I did this last summer at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, and our good friends, Ruth and Dan, are heading off with Global Volunteers in a couple of weeks to work on the St. Lucia Project.

This is perfect for Ruth, who runs the amazing Cranium Crunches, because it focuses on brain development in children. Research shows that poor nutrition and persisitent parasitic and diarrhoeal dissease adversely impacts children’s brain development, affecting generations to come. Global Volunteers’ groundbreaking program focuses on 12 Essential Services to change this and to raise the IQ of an entire country.

“I love the idea of volunteer travel,” says Ruth. “It fills so many needs and gives all of us an opportunity to leave a piece of the world enriched for us having been there.”

I know the children of St. Lucia will be enriched by having Ruth and Dan there.

Ruth told me about all the items the people there are lacking, and I want to share these lists with you so maybe you can send a box of some of them to her to take with her. It says volumes that the first two things on the list are hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

Please take a look, and see what you can pack up in a shoebox or flat rate box. There’s also a special SPA day program to give the caregivers some much-needed “me” time, and I bet all of us have extras in our own drawers that we can share with women who really need them. Just imagine what would make you feel good for a little pampering — body lotions, face and hand creams, nail polish, massage oils — and send them along.

It’s so easy to make a difference, and I hope you’ll put together a box and send it by February 7 to Ruth Curran, 4901 Morena, Suite 308, San Diego, CA 92117.

Spread the word and ask others to get involved just be Tweeting this:

Needs for children’s programs:
Hand sanitizer
Disinfecting wipes
Markers, large tip (permanent)
Heavy duty scissors
Long tube socks, donkey eyes, sewing kits
Contact paper
3D puzzles
Blank paper- colored paper
Nesting cups
Acrylic poster paint
Bath rubber books
Board books
Large print picture books
Bristol board
Fabric & wadding
Games and puzzles for 0 – 13 years
White boards, size: 11 X 17 inches
Sponge balls
Play dough
Molding clay
Beads and lace
Finger/ hand puppet
Blank paper
Elmer’s glue
Jumbo crayons
Thumells, measuring cups

Needs for the women’s projects:
Crochet hooks (different sizes)
Crochet thread (wool, metallic, cotton)
Macramé Twine
Embroidery thread
Embroidery needles
Fabric cloth glue
Large scissors
Pinking shears
Knitting thread
Knitting pins (size 9)
Seam rippers
Measuring tapes
Fabric Paint
Cloth dyes


  1. What a great program! It is helpful to provide exactly what they need. I will help you spread the word.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve often wondered how I could help these organizations since I’m not going to be on the front lines.

  3. Great idea – I will be putting together a box and sending it off. I have some great samples of beauty products that would be perfect for the caregivers.

  4. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    My brother in law went on one of those volunteer trips to Haiti last year to help them rebuild. It’s a great way to help.

  5. I think this is fantastic that you are posting about this right now! I see lots of posts about this kind of thing around Christmas, but I think people forget about these kinds of donations after the holidays. Out of sight out of mind kind of thing. Thank you for this!

  6. Love this! Sharing and donating.

  7. This is a great program! We sometimes forget that donating items can sometimes be the biggest way to help!

  8. Bringing worthy causes to the forefront is important because without this it would be out of people’s minds.

  9. What a wonderful idea and so many of these items are unused in our storage closets and cabinets.

  10. How amazing!! I love the video they created – very powerful. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work in Bolivia & these sorts of things can be life changing to everyone involved.

  11. What practical information. My family does a lot of volunteer work locally. You’ve given me some new ideas.

  12. I am sharing this all over the place. I love the initiative! Let’s lend a hand!

  13. This is awesome! I love helping and it’s nice to have a list so you know exactly what to get,

  14. These are great ideas for helping volunteers. I never really thought about the essentials people doing volunteer work would need!

  15. What an amazing programme, how great that we can contribute without even leaving the country as well!

  16. This is a wonderful way to help! I am going to see what I can send as well!

  17. This is a great way to give! I love the list of ideas – nothing better than getting exactly what they need!

  18. I see lots of posts like this around Christmas. I think it’s great that you’re posting about it now. I’ll definitely try to put a box together.

  19. what a great program. this is really great because you can get a lot of this stuff at the dollar store so you can make several boxes for very little money and know you are helping many.

  20. This is such a great idea! I have never heard of this until now!

  21. Volunteer travel sounds like a blast. I didn’t know it existed!

  22. It is really neat that there are so many projects out there and that this one includes children. We have a sponsor child that lives in Guatemala. We’ve been sponsoring him for a few years now. It really brings joy to our heart to know our small monthly donation can make such a large impact. We also have some charities here that we tend to. I am big on feeding those in need; especially the homeless. There are so many people that need our help.

  23. Wow, you are wonderful Lois! We have lots of expandable suitcases to pack and are soooo grateful to be part of this! See what happens when we put all of our voices together behind a good cause? Let’s change some lives my friend!

  24. We here can always support those who go to these countries to help those in need. My church has several missionary groups who go as far as Africa. We support them with financial donations.

  25. Thanks for sharing this!

  26. Most people don’t realize how easy it is to make a difference. We all need to pay it forward whenever possible.

  27. my local craft group just started doing something called “a day for the girls” or something like that where we make reusable pads and ship them to 3rd world countries. Since they don’t have access most of the time to disposable feminine hygiene products it really is a life saver for them.

  28. this looks like such a great program and I agree… there’s always something you can do to help even if you’re not the one actually going. 🙂 I personally like to be the person going, but lately i’ve had mixed feelings about voluntourism bc i know there are so many people who are there longterm that have a much better skill set than me. looking into global volunteers now. 🙂

  29. That’s nice that you shared the list. And those are things we can just pick up and add to our grocery carts while we’re out shopping anyway!

  30. Maybe my Girl Scouts can collect items for boxes like this. Someday, I hope my husband and I can do volunteer travel. There are so many places in my heart that are in need.

  31. Thank you for sharing! What a wonderful program.

  32. What a worthy cause and I appreciate your list of what they actually need. I prefer to go by a list than to think up things on my own.

  33. I’ve never heard of this program before, but I so strongly believe in giving when you can and taking care of others.

  34. What a great program. We spent a day in St. Lucia just a few weeks ago and had a day trip. It’s beautiful there.

  35. This is great. I used to send items to my son stationed in Afghanistan. He always took things like wipes and such to men in outlying camps. Wipes are great and a little snack is always welcomed.

  36. I have often wondered how I could help others outside my country. This is a very helpful list

  37. Reading this post made me realize that I am not up-to-date on vacation trends. The idea of a working or volunteer vacation is a good one.

  38. wow this is awesome to know which I was clueless about! Tweeted! Thanks much for sharing the love <3

  39. This is such a great idea. I also know of someone who vacations where there is an orphanage and collect supplies to take along in a large suitcase each time they go. This list is great info.

  40. I am big on volunteering but never thought about volunteer travel. What a great idea.

  41. A good cause to help others in need. A lot of things that we take for granted.

  42. One could fill a box with a lot of these items. Using the flat rate box is a great idea.

  43. COASAHM (@COASAHM12) says:

    This sounds like an amazing program! It’s great to have a list so we know exactly what to get.

  44. This is fantastic. I am definitely sharing this, I know plenty of people that would love to help out.

  45. Linda Roy (elleroy was here) says:

    This is an excellent program! Thank you for bringing it to our attention Lois.
    So often we wonder how we can help, outside of sending money to the number on our television screens. This is a terrific way.

  46. I appreciate you sharing the needs list. It is always nice to see what exactly people need.

  47. What a great idea! I love to hear about new ways to pay it forward!

  48. I definitely need to get together a donation for our local kids home.

  49. And it’s great that you’ve made it easy to help with a global effort too!

  50. What a great idea and way to help. We have many of these things that we can send. This would help these volunteers so much.

  51. What a really great program! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, I have never heard of it before and plan on looking at them and donating!

  52. Reading your post made me cry ( but then I am having one of those kinds of days. It’s amazing how many peolpe need so much. I’m going to print your list and take it with me for the next time I go to the store. Thanks to both you and Ruth for sharing.

  53. I love people who walk the talk, as the 4 of you do.

  54. I love this and I know that Ruth and Dan will bring so much to the people of St. Lucia. Paying it forward is what it’s all about.

  55. Ruth Curran says:

    Just letting you know, Lois, that your followers are overwhelmingly amazing….

  56. What a perfect way to spend a family vacation! I will be sending Ruth some items.

  57. Annie Linnehan says:

    I am making a mad rush dash to the dollar tree store and packing up a box to get there in time! Ruth and Dan are amazing people. When my son Joey (a life long elementary school friend of their son David) was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer, Ruth actually cooked Joey’s favorite green chili and mailed it on dry ice to Colorado for him to have during his chemo treatments. The support and love they gave my son and my family got us through some pretty rough times. I would support these two wonderful people in any venture they make and this one sounds fantastic. St. Lucia is lucky to have the Currans 🙂


  1. The Journey Begins: Dropping Assumptions | Find Your Purpose says:

    […] The St. Lucia Project Manager, Chem, and her husband, decided to meet us early so we could bring the supplies that blogger friends from so many places sent for me to bring with. (See here for how, in large part thanks to Midlife at the Oasis.) […]

  2. The Journey Begins: Dropping Assumptions | Cranium Crunches Blog says:

    […] The St. Lucia Project Manager, Chem, and her husband, decided to meet us early so we could bring the supplies that blogger friends from so many places sent for me to bring with. (See here for how, in large part thanks to Midlife at the Oasis.) […]

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