Have extra room in your luggage or a good baggage allowance? Feel it's time to make your travel meaningful for the communities you visit and for you to make a difference? Want your kids to know what being socially responsible feels like? Then you really need to check out Pack for a Purpose, an organization that connects travelers with projects at their destination point to benefit the local people and/or animals.
Make a Difference When You Travel AND Cure Your Overpacking with Pack for a Purpose
I found out about Pack for a Purpose from a friend before we left on our recent sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands. She said she was bringing down a bunch of school supplies and asked if I wanted to participate. After doing a bit of research, it was a resounding YES!
The Raleigh, North Carolina-based organization was started by Rebecca Rothney six years ago during a visit to Africa. She recognized the needs of the Botswana school children and realized how easy it would be to help. To date, the group has grown to include projects around the world in 60 countries and has delivered an unbelievable 120,000 lbs. of supplies to people in need! The initiatives you can choose from are related to education, health, child welfare, animal welfare, and socioeconomic development. You can donate anything from stethoscopes and school books to leashes and chew toys.
Just to let you know how little space in your luggage you need…For five pounds, you could bring 400 pencils or five deflated soccer balls with an inflation device or a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and 500 band-aids or a whole slew of pet supplies. This would be a great opportunity to cure your overpacking – you know you do – and leave those two pair of shoes you'll never wear at home!
Here's how easy it is to make a difference…
- Go to the Pack for a Purpose website and see if your destination is partnered with them.
- Find a local hotel/resort/tour company/organization and a project/initiative it supports.
- Choose the supplies you want to bring with you from the items requested.
- Pack them up and bring them with you to your destination.
- Drop off your items at the location selected and they will be delivered to the project.
We were traveling first to The Moorings in Tortola. They are partnered with the Family Support Network to work to eradicate domestic violence in the British Virgin Islands and beyond. Well, since this is an issue dear to me at home, I got busy shopping and packing before we left. There were two other islands that had projects for their primary schools and the Autism Center. Had I researched further, I would have brought another bag. Luckily, however, I could also make a donation on line.
What a meaningful opportunity for any family to teach your children social responsibility! And, if you can't carry down the supplies, you always have that option of making a donation on line or doing as my friend, Sara, did – she literally took the clothes off her kids' back, washed them at the hotel, and donated them to the kids in the Turks and Caicos. What a great example for her two young ones!
I hope you check out Pack for a Purpose when you are planning your next vacation and see if you can help. Based on how easy it is to get involved, you have no excuse. As their motto says…Small Space. Little Effort. Big Impact.