Volunteering In A Dominican Chocolate Factory #sponsored #TravelDeep #travel

Volunteering In A Dominican Chocolate Factory #sponsored #TravelDeep #travelCheap Is The New Classy

A few days ago, Amber and Mackenzie volunteered in Chocal, a chocolate factory run by women located in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. The women who run the factory also have their children help them. One of the Impact Travel activities aboard Fathom involves taking volunteers to Chocal to offer help in all aspects of the chocolate factory’s daily needs including planting cacao seeds, helping out in the nursery and helping to prepare the chocolate for sale.

Volunteering In A Dominican Chocolate Factory #sponsored #TravelDeep #travel

Volunteering In A Dominican Chocolate Factory

The volunteers were divided into groups and then each went in different directions. The first thing Amber and Mackenzie did was go to the nursery. There they mixed compost and soil and placed the mixture into bags for planting. They lined them in rows and made holes in the ground with spiked where they then placed a cacao seed in each bag. An employee watered them and then Amber and Mackenzie moved to the next step.

Volunteering In A Dominican Chocolate Factory #sponsored #TravelDeep #travel

At the actual factory up the street, Amber and Mackenzie then got to sample hot chocolate made at the factory. They said it was even better than what they had a few months earlier in Grenada. The first step in the factory was putting on hair nets. Then they went to where the beans were being roasted and took a tour of the factory.

They then helped to separate the nibs from the shell. The nib is the actual pure chocolate that is inside the shell. A few people sampled this, as well, and said that it was bittersweet and tasted like really dark chocolate.

Volunteering In A Dominican Chocolate Factory #sponsored #TravelDeep #travel

Amber and Mackenzie then began to work with chocolate mixtures and placed them into molds in preparation for packaging. They had to be sure to scrape off the excess so that the chocolate would be pretty. Part of the process involved banging the tray on the table to get rid of excess air. You could actually see the air bubbles rise to the top.

They then went into the packaging room and began wrapping individual chocolates and placing stickers on the backs of the bags that the chocolates were being placed into. After that, they went outside and learned the difference between good and bad cacao beans and helped to sort them. They wrapped up the day by touring the gift shop and purchasing chocolates to take home.

Just that day, the Fathom Impact Travel groups wrapped around 1,500 bonbons, prepped and placed stickers on over 2,000 bags, separated and sorted around 100 pounds of cacao beans, and shelled over 150 pounds of cacao nibs. And at the nursery, they planted almost 900 trees where they will grow for 3 months and then be sold or donated to local farmers.

Volunteering In A Dominican Chocolate Factory #sponsored #TravelDeep #travel

Why This Type Of Volunteerism Is Important

Mackenzie feels that in the small amount of time given, they were able to do a lot of work. This helps the cacao factory, especially the planting of the trees, because the Fathom Impact Travel group was able to accomplish a lot of work that would have taken the cacao factory’s small workforce a really long time to accomplish on their own. Since the labor was provided free, this also saves the company a lot of money that they can then use for other needs.

Amber felt the best part was that, instead of a monetary donation, she liked being able to work alongside the factory employees to help provide something that will last much longer than a single act of kindness. These trees will be around much longer than cash or another donation. This allows the employees to benefit from their own successes and makes sure they are left with something they understand and can actually use later on.

Volunteering In A Dominican Chocolate Factory #sponsored #TravelDeep #travel

What Do You Think Of Volunteering In A Dominican Chocolate Factory?

Is this something that you would be interested in? Do you have any questions about our experience or the value of this kind of volunteerism? If so, feel free to ask them in the comments below.

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About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn is a full time travel and lifestyle blogger. Besides Cheap Is The New Classy, she also owns and writes for EatPlayRock.com, an entertainment site. Her interests include traveling, home decor, DIY projects, organizing her home and enjoying a nice cup of coffee {or two}. She currently resides in North Carolina with her dog, Daisy.


  1. What a fun experience. I love chocolate and this is something I would definitely be interested in. I like to volunteer whenever I have the time to spare.

  2. It’s good that you constantly keep them exposed to life experiences. They would have a far better understanding and appreciation of the world.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you. Too many people grow up with very little exposure to people beyond their towns or states. You can’t really understand other ideas and ways of life if you aren’t exposed to them.

  3. It looks like really hard work, but what an amazing experience. It’s great to get exposed to these things. These memories can never be taken away 🙂

  4. Chrishelle Ebner says:

    Such an awesome thing to do. And such an awesome place to go! It would be so awesome to volunteer over seas!

  5. Wow It looks like a lot of hard work but It pays off, Amber seems to be an amazing and positive person

  6. Oh wow what an interesting looking place to spend sometime volunteering with, I would definitely love to do something like this myself. x

  7. What a cool experience. I bet the factory smell so delicious.

  8. I loved the Dominican Republic when we visited. This sounds like such a neat experience!

  9. A chocolate factory? Now that’s my kind of place! How awesome of you to volunteer your time, and it looks like you had fun too!

  10. Jay Simms says:

    That looks like a really fun experience. Who wouldn’t want to volunteer in a chocolate factory though?!

  11. Jeanine says:

    Wow that looks like a lot of fun! I miss chocolate so much right now its for sure my favourite. I would love to do something like this, what an experience!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      We bought some of the chocolate there, too. I have to say, it is way different than most I have tasted in the states. it is so good. You must try it if ever given the chance.

  12. What an amazing opportunity! That looks like so much fun! Our church is going to Dominican Republic in a few months. I have never been but I would love to visit one day!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I hope you get to visit one day, too. Will your church be doing something similar?

  13. I can not think of a more amazing experience! Getting to see the world while working to give back truly sounds like a dream!

  14. What an awesome volunteering opportunity! I would love to do this one day!

  15. That sounds like some serious work! It’s great that they were able to help out in multiple stages of the process!

  16. Your children won’t soon forget this experience. I loved seeing them working with others. My daughter both went on mission trips, an experience they still talk about as the one thing that impacted their lives.

  17. WOW! that’s amazing I would love to go do this. Great photos and description. I’ll bet your kids wont soon forget this hahha

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I hope they never do. I think it’s important for people to learn to empathize with and help others at a young age.

  18. Oh how cool! What a fun experience to have. I am loving all of those photos!

  19. That is such a great experience for your children to have. Love this so much!

  20. victoria says:

    Omg, these are look so fun and a great experience. Love these photos

  21. I would have loved to volunteer if I lived nearer, what an incredible experience that must have been!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Luckily Fathom Travel took us there via cruise. We don’t live close either. 😀

  22. Elizabeth O. says:

    That’s such a rewarding experience. Being able to work alongside these hardworking employees will teach you a lot about how life is on the other side of the fence. It must have been exciting and fun to be able to get to know these kind-hearted people!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I think everyone should put themselves in someone else’s shoes if given a chance. If nothing else, it teaches empathy.

  23. Wow. What a great experience. I pictured something much more glamorous when I read volunteering for chocolate. I know first hand how important good volunteer help is especially with the “dirty” work. Thank you for sharing.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      It does sound quite glamorous, doesn’t it. 🙂 It definitely was a lot of fun and a very fulfilling experience, though.

  24. wow, this look so amazing. I can’t tell you how much I want to go here.

  25. What an awesome experience! I would love to do something like this. I have a volunteer vacation on my bucket list to Thailand at the elephant sanctuary!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      That sounds amazing! I love elephants and would totally want to take part in something like that, too.

  26. I’ll bet the bean roasting smelled awesome! What a cool experience.

  27. Ann Bacciaglia says:

    I think it is fantastic to help give back to the world. Fathom Impact Travel group is doing some amazing work. What an amazing experience.

  28. Itstill makes me think what the person was actually doing when they discovered chocolate. The same as Milk…. who first thought, well if a calf can do it!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Hahaha! That is too funny. There are lots of discoveries that make me wonder, too.

  29. Wow! This is a cool read! I learned a lot about chocolate and how it was made! Very cool! Thank you for the great post!

  30. What a great experience! I am always interested in the real life of places I visit. This is so cool that you had the chance to see a day-to-day thing.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Especially on cruises, you often only see glimpses of cruise ports or fun excursions. This was definitely a great cruise for seeing how life really is for the residents.

  31. Robin Ruehrwein says:

    This looks like it was such a great experience to be a part of. I would love to visit and help out in a chocolate factory.

  32. Nicole Escat says:

    If I will volunteer, I would like to be one of the volunteers in this Dominican chocolate factory. I love chocolates and I like to plant cacao too!

  33. I think that would be an awesome experience. I would love to volunteer there. Anything to do with chocolate and I’d be there! That would be so much fun!

  34. I love the idea of Impact cruises and trips. I also think that working along side of people and volunteering teaches so much more than monetary donations.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I agree. A monetary donation would be gone and can only be used once. Something like this could last for years to come.

  35. This is such a remarkable trip and a cool experience.

  36. Leigh Anne says:

    What an awesome opportunity! I think it is so important to give back whenever you can!

  37. Nikki Jenner says:

    Nice work! I like to volunteer too especially for the good of nature.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      You might really enjoy that Reforestation Impact Travel activity they offer then. 🙂

  38. Nicole Escat says:

    I like your trip, I envy you! Your volunteer work sounds fun and really significant.

  39. I remember when we use to get fresh chocolate in Jamaica. They use to beat it in a thing called mauta (not sure if that’s the correct spelling), I love fresh chocolate.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      That sounds awesome. If I ever visit Jamaica, I will be sure to check that out.

  40. What an amazing opportunity! I love that you were able to help so many people and you got to do it on a cruise. You had fun AND made a difference.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Right! It was awesome to be able to see up close how people in another country live and participate in their lives for a while. All while on a cruise. Who could pass that up?

  41. That is an excellent opportunity and a great way to teach children exactly where their food comes from and at what cost.

  42. I would sure like to go through a chocolate factory. I love the pictures!! This def. looks like a fun experience.

  43. It is an amazing experience! Something new and fun! Great idea!

  44. CourtneyLynne says:

    Omg this must of been quite the experience!!!! Fun yet you’re helming and learning something! So cool

  45. Amazing that we had those things growing in our backyard as a child…..LOL…the things we took for granted…

  46. tauyanm says:

    omg very lucky you! i would love to volunteer too! this sounds fun!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      This was a great experience. Definitely try it one day if you get a chance.

  47. wow this is an awesome and very interesting read. i would love to vounteer as well. such fun

  48. What a great experience. So fun.

  49. Your write-up is so awesome! I’ll probable never get to the Dominican Republic, but this place looks and sounds so cool to check out! I’m glad you got a chance to volunteer there!