WILTON, Conn. — Wilton’s Cassidy Stack won’t be spending her upcoming college spring break soaking up the sun on a tropical beach. Instead, the 18-year-old and her mother, Patti, will be volunteering at a Haitian orphanage in Port au Prince.
This won’t be the first trip to Haiti for the mother-daughter team. Back in December 2011, the two spent 10 days— including Christmas— at the New Life Children’s Home, an orphanage that houses more than 100 abandoned and handicapped children. This time around, they will be spending eight days there.
“We absolutely fell in love with the children there,” Patti said. “We left a big piece of our hearts in Haiti and we are so excited to be able to go back now.”
The duo became involved with New Life Children’s Home after a friend of Patti’s founded her own orphanage in Haiti. Wanting to help her friend’s orphanage get established, Patti and Cassidy flew out to Haiti and ended up staying at New Life— where they set up a library for the children.
Patti’s company helped make the library project a reality by donating 150 books to the orphanage.
“We are anxious to see how the library is doing nowadays,” Patti said.
Although they spent a lot of their time at New Life, Patti and Cassidy also volunteered at six other orphanages during their 10-day trip. The pair did whatever they could to help— including repairing the roof at one of the orphanages, preparing meals, feeding children, changing diapers, picking up and delivering food supplies, and of course, playing and spending time with the children.
The experience inspired Cassidy— a freshman at Adelphi University— to pursue a nursing degree.
“There was a little boy who had to be put in quarantine and Cassidy stayed by his side,” Patti said. “It made a big impact on her life— both our lives.”
Before embarking on their first trip, Patti and Cassidy packed four suitcases with a variety of donated goods such as vitamins, medicine, toiletries, baby formula and clothing. These items were distributed to New Life.
The two are once again collecting items for the orphanage, Patti said. Some items needed most are diapers (in sizes 5 and 6); adult diapers (in small and extra small); formula; baby powder; hand and body lotion; batteries (size D and lantern 6V); hand soap; liquid body wash; liquid children’s iron; liquid children’s Tylenol and ibuprofen; liquid children’s cold/cough medicine; and liquid children's allergy medicine.
Anyone interested in donating items can email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org. Patti and Cassidy are leaving for Haiti on March 15.