Rewarding Moments in A Remote Community

Neither David Berry, nor Marisa Moriarty, expected to find themselves ankle-deep in snow in the Peruvian Andes in mid-April. But having been hand-selected to represent The Vitamin Shoppe on a recent trip to the field, the duo was in for an adventure that featured more than just unexpected weather.

By Elysia Cook

David, who lives in Michigan, laughed as he recalled the snowy conditions that caught the team off-guard while en route to one distribution. “It was a great thing to see some snow on the mountains...to push our vehicle out of the snow, it was like being back at home!” he shared.

Though the team ended up switching to a vehicle better suited for the icy roads, they weren’t able to reach the planned vitamin distribution location. But, adapting their plans paved the way for even greater memories, as the field partners decided to visit the homes that were accessible and distribute prenatal multivitamins house-by-house. The experience of accompanying the field partners, Marisa and David noted, brought to life Vitamin Angels’ maxim of ‘reaching the unreachable.’

Having participated in a number of mission trips personally, Marisa could appreciate the need to be adaptable, but she said, “I didn’t realize how Vitamin Angels got on the ground in these areas. Just understanding the time it does take to reach these remote locations, and the patience needed for the process.” Marisa also spoke about the opportunity to work with field partner DESEA in the communities, “It was great to see how Vitamin Angels gets immersed in these areas, using these community partners was just eye-opening” she said.

Getting to the communities was just the beginning of building a deeper understanding of the impact of Vitamin Angels’ long-standing partnership with The Vitamin Shoppe. For Marisa and David, relating as parents brought greater meaning.

“I’m a mother, too,” Marisa said, “I can understand a mom wanting more for her children.” But, she added, “The mothers in Peru are some of the strongest women, with pure guts and drive and stamina.”

For many of the families they visited, the mothers stay home to take care of the home, the land, and the children while fathers set out to earn a living working on the Inca Trail for days or weeks, sometimes months, at a time.

The arrival of one father who returned from work during the team’s home visit struck a chord with David. “I’m an involved dad, and I grew up in an environment where my dad wasn’t as involved…seeing the area we were in—and there weren’t any guys around—my heart broke.”

Marisa agreed. “It’s tough being a parent. You can tell both parents truly love their children,” she said. “But they have to do what’s necessary to provide.”

Now that they’ve returned to home, both she and David are even more inspired and enthusiastic about supporting the success The Vitamin Shoppe’s partnership with Vitamin Angels.

“The mothers in Peru are some of the strongest women, with pure guts and drive and stamina.”

For many of the families they visited, the mothers stay home to take care of the home, the land, and the children.

“I’m an involved dad, and I grew up in an environment where my dad wasn’t as involved…seeing the area we were in—and there weren’t any guys around—my heart broke.”

“The fact that The Vitamin Shoppe is willing to put themselves out there and ask customers to make a difference in the world, it inspires me. I talk about it all the time,” Marisa said. “It’s my passion for my [team] to impact others outside the scope of our everyday lives.”

That zeal was shared by David as well. “I already had so much passion. But this set it in stone and more or less set my expectation to hit that bar of success every single time,” he said. “Not just because of the trip, but when you see where the donations are going. It takes the compassion engraved in my bones and makes it even more real.”

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