It is becoming easier than ever to positively impact a community in which you are vacationing thanks to Pack for a Purpose. The organization, founded in 2009, lists supplies needed for community projects around the world that travelers can bring with them.
Pack for a Purpose has partnered with more than 475 accommodations and tour companies to supply community projects in more than 60 countries, according to their website. Community projects are broken down into education, health, child welfare, animal welfare and socio-economic development.
“Everyone’s mother told them when you go to someone’s house to eat a meal, you take a gift – candy, flowers, whatever – to say thank you for your hospitality,” said Rebecca Rothney, Pack for a Purpose’s founder and chairperson, to the PBS News Hour.
“So when you go to somebody’s country, it’s my belief you should also say ‘thank you for your hospitality’ by bringing people in that country something they could actually use. And hopefully, that’s where our website comes in,” added Rothney.
Packing for a purpose comes down to five easy steps: selecting a destination, finding accommodation or a tour company and a project it supports, picking items from the project’s requested items list and dropping off supplies at the accommodation or tour company. From there, the company delivers the supplies you have contributed.
Travelers have shown how simple the process is and have shared their stories on Pack for a Purpose’s website. Additionally, travelers may have the option to go with the accommodation or tour company to meet the communities and personally deliver their supplies. Some incredibly heartwarming stories have come from the staff that work and live in these communities.
Suzan Kruger, who works at the Kwa Maritane accommodation in South Africa, shared a story about the many supplies they’ve received for the Borite Primary School, which serves children who come from low to no-income families.
“This morning I walked in to an incredible mountain of school supplies, puzzles, board games, books, sporting equipment and wall charts. Incredibly this weighed in at an amazing 73.23 kilos [161.44 pounds],” said Kruger in October 2015. “Over the past 2.5 months, we have been able to pass on an incredible 174.85 kilos [385.47 pounds] of donations to the school.”
Travelers are encouraged to check Pack for a Purpose’s website prior to their next adventure for an updated list of participating accommodation and tour companies and the supplies needed. Small donations can quickly add up and make a big difference.
– Summer Jackson