This fall, a group of 20 Southwest Employees and I, as well as our families, returned from the Company’s ninth Mission Getaway to Cusco, Peru. The trip was conducted with the help of Global Legacy Programs, a nonprofit that supports projects in rural communities across the globe. Our particular mission trip was not just a unique opportunity to provide a lasting impact in the villages of Chacabamba and Quehue, Peru; but also to connect with the people and their culture.
Giving back is the Heart of our work at Southwest, and this trip was the perfect way for us to share that with another community. Through volunteerism, we are able to put our Servant’s Heart on display as we donate our time and resources to make an impact.
When we arrived in Peru, we received a heartfelt greeting from their children’s marching band, along with hugs, traditional dances, and gratitude for our continued support. We were all so excited to get started and do whatever we could to best help this community while we were there, and knew that in return they would make a lasting impact on our lives.
Making a Difference
Our group met in Cusco before heading on to the village, and all of our bags were filled with donations including: requested medical supplies (provided by Medical Bridges), soccer uniforms, hygiene items, and games/treats for the kids.
Throughout the year, our volunteer team worked diligently to fundraise so we would be able to purchase the materials to build stoves and supplies for the community. The money donated by generous supporters helped us make an incredible impact.
During our time abroad, our group:
Furnished families in Quehue with 20 vented mud stoves to replace the traditional open floor fire used for cooking.
Provided medical supplies for Quehue and the Caritas communities in Cusco, Peru
Donated school supplies for 165 children in the primary and secondary schools in Chacabamba, in addition to microscopes for the secondary school in Chacabamba to set up a science lab.
Helped construct a greenhouse in Amparae, a village in the Andes that will allow for vegetable production at the village’s higher altitude and cold climate, ultimately providing healthy meals to the school children in the area.
Our time spent in Peru also helped Global Legacy Programs earn travel through Tickets for Time, a program offered by Southwest to show support and appreciation for our passionate Employee volunteers. For every 40 hours of volunteer time our Employees contribute to a qualified 501c3 nonprofit organization, that organization is eligible to receive domestic travel for one roundtrip flight. Our work with this organization allows them to earn Tickets for Time and in turn, further their reach.
The immense compassion showed to us by the native Peruvians, and the friendships created in our group are a reflection of how Southwest Employees love to serve and care for each other all across the globe. To learn more about our commitment to volunteerism, visit our Community Outreach page.
As we enter the holiday season, we encourage you to find ways that you and your friends and family can come together to volunteer in your own community. While you may be helping others, you might just find that it has more an impact on you than you ever imagined.