Nova Scotia

Couple asking for donations for Jamaican school instead of wedding gifts

As part of their destination wedding in Jamaica, Shayla Loppie and Nathan Simon of Dartmouth, N.S., are collecting money and school supplies for students in need.

Dartmouth couple are hoping to help a small school in Jamaica

Shayla Loppie and Nathan Simon with their 10-month-old daughter and five-year-old son. (Paul Adams/Adams Photography)

A Nova Scotia couple planning a destination wedding is forgoing wedding gifts and asking guests to bring donations of books, colouring supplies and candy for students at a small school in Jamaica.

Shayla Loppie and Nathan Simon said they want to give back to a country they love—they've visited Jamaica three times already—and to teach their five-year-old son how blessed they are to live in Canada. 

"We have good healthcare, free education and our kids can play sports. There is just so many things we are blessed with," says Loppie, who lives in Dartmouth.

They brought up the idea with Sharon Loppie, Shayla's mother, who helped them to find a school, which wasn't easy. 

"It was time-consuming," Sharon said. 

She contacted the travel company planning the trip's excursions, Real Tours Jamaica. The office then contacted Jamaica's ministry of education which suggested Prickley Pole Primary School on Jamaica's north coast.

Sharon then got in touch with the school's principal to learn about how to help. She learned that the school is in need of stationery, toiletries and eating utensils, so the Canadian couple decided to raise money via Go Fund Me.

'Some smiling faces'

They have already raised $2,000 in 10 days, but they are hoping to raise another $1,000 before their May wedding. Sharon's company, Time 2 Travel with Travelonly, has also donated to the campaign. 

Sharon says they are thrilled with the results so far. They plan to deliver the donations personally to the school two days before the wedding ceremony. 

"The 106 students and six teachers are looking forwards to meeting us," Sharon said. 

The future bride and groom plan to bring their whole wedding group of 60 people to the school to meet the students.

"As a mom, to see other kids not having flip flops, a school bag or [they] can't go to school because their parents can't afford it, just breaks my heart," says Shayla. 

"I just want to see some smiling faces," says Simon.