The global lockdown on travel to surf destinations has hit many communities in serious ways.
As people have come to depend on the income from surf-related tourism for their livelihood and everyday survival, the overnight tourism drought has had a huge impact on local economies, and many families are struggling to put food on the table.
Thousands of people are unemployed. Savings are running out. And there’s no telling if and when the tourism economy will recover.
The situation is getting dire, and the needs of local people are real, and mounting.
AWA Gives Raffle
In the town of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, surfers and local residents have responded to the crisis by uniting in support of their community through local nonprofit, the Integral Development Association (ADI), and the A Week Awake (AWA) Gives Raffle. The raffle is a creative initiative to help feed the local families of Santa Teresa who have been gravely affected by border closures and travel restrictions.
Mona Picasso and Giulia Vallotto, Co-Founders of A Week Awake, decided to dedicate their creative energy toward developing a meaningful way to receive donations and feed the community’s most vulnerable local families.
Gathering from among the talents and business offerings of Santa Teresa residents, Mona and Giulia brought people and prizes together to help the community in the place they call home, the dusty little town known and loved by surfers around the world. From designer jewelry, meals at amazing restaurants and accommodations at luxury villas, to roundtrip flights with national airlines, artwork and holistic healing online sessions, the raffle prizes were an attractive way to raise funds, while keeping donations accessible at just $10 per ticket.
The first raffle met quick success and was a fun way to get people in the giving spirit. AWA Gives raised over $10,000 in just 10 days with donations from people across the globe who hold a special place in their hearts for Santa Teresa. These funds made it possible to deliver a month’s supply of food to 200+ families (nearly 800 people) in town. For those involved in assisting with the raffle, preparing food packages and distributing in person to those in need, the experience was powerfully moving and showed the meaningful impact of something as simple as a raffle on the real lives of people who might not otherwise have a way to feed their families in this time of crisis.
That experience also led the AWA chicas to recognize the true gravity of the situation in Santa Teresa. There are another 1000+ families in real need of immediate support. And this reality could continue, and worsen, for months. Responding to the present demand for broader, ongoing support, they launched AWA GIVES Volume II, pouring their heart and soul into raising as much as possible to continue feeding the families in need.
Mona and Giulia’s message to all of us is clear: what’s happening around the world is out of our control, but what we do have the power to affect is our immediate community; and if we all take care of our communities, we can change the world.
Your participation in the AWA Gives Raffle directly supports the most vulnerable families of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Thank you for helping the AWA team and ADI put food on people's tables.
We make the difference together,
Thank you all.
Text by our dear friend Tara Ruttenberg