ROCHELLE PARK, N.J. -- A tradition that began during a couple's honeymoon has turned into a lifelong quest to give back.
The story begins in 2011, when Robyn and Trevor Crane were biking in Panama Dec. 24 and saw a group of kids playing near their path. They parked their bikes and walked through the trees to find two huts and lots of children. That day, the couple simply said “Feliz Navidad”, but the next day they returned to bring the 17 kids and three adults piles of gifts and food.
Inspired by that experience, the two, now joined by daughter, Phoenix, age eight, have spent every holiday since then doing what what they call their “Give Back” experience. Among their efforts: partnering one year with a non-profit in Mexico called the "Breakfast for the Children of Puerto Vallarta" to hand out food and backpacks with school supplies to more than 250 children, along with hot food to more than 100 families and homeless people.
This past December, the Rochelle Park family went all out, renting an RV they dubbed the Christmas Mobile. They filled the van with toys and delivered items to churches, homeless shelters and food kitchens in New York City. They even brought their service dog, Moxie, as an additional way to spread joy.
"We want to give back in anyway we can," said Trevor. "We’re volunteering our time, toil, toys, money, elbow grease, comedic relief, and cheerful entertainment as Robyn brings her guitar. There’s no better present than to give." (Moxie, for the record, doles out sloppy kisses.)
Adds Robyn: "It’s important to us that our daughter learns the value of giving back."
Their commitment to charity, one could say, is practically a family business. All three are bestselling authors who donate either time or money to various causes. Robyn, for example, leads a FEMM Mentorship for women entrepreneurs while daughter Phoenix, the co-founder of SuperKidsBooks.com , helps teach youngsters how to become book authors (Dad helps). Phoenix gives a percentage of her sales to charities that help animals. Her third book, incidentally, is due for release in March. Go HERE for information.
"It's easy to turn a blind eye and pretend suffering doesn’t exist," said Trevor. "We get involved because it’s the right thing to do.”
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