If you’ve been wanting to help out and participate in the trend to do a little good when you travel but weren’t sure where to start, we have just the solution. Pack For A Purpose, a non-profit founded when a couple on safari in Botswana found a way to help out a local community, lets you leave your next trip with more than just souvenirs. It’s a very simple-yet-effective program where you allow for just five extra pounds of life-changing little somethings in your luggage that will let you leave a legacy of a positive impact too.
Pack For A Purpose identifies the community and a hotel in your destination that will facilitate the donation and you pitch in the rest by bringing the requested goods ranging from kids’ books to medical supplies. Donations vary by community, but what doesn’t change is the direct nature of the program. If you’re traveling to Mexico, your partner is the Playa Viva sustainable resort, which has the distinction of being the only partner in Mexico or the US. Located near the small town of Juluchuca on an idyllic strand of the Pacific, they are asking travelers to pack school supplies such as children’s books, colored paper, notebooks, paint brushes and calculators, which will then be donated to the local elementary school. For other destinations, people are asked to pack items such as medical supplies or even soccer balls.
The program’s genesis occurred when on their first trip to Africa, the founders, Rebecca and Scott Rothney, learned that while they were limited to 40 pounds (18.14 kgs) of luggage on safari, the airline had an allowance of 100 pounds (45 kgs) of checked luggage plus a 40 pound (18.14 kg) carry-on. In making plans for a second trip, they looked into visiting a school near the lodge where they were staying. They contacted the safari company, Wilderness Safaris, to see if they could determine any specific needs of that school. Armed with that information, they were able to deliver 140 pounds (64 kgs) of school supplies, including soccer balls, to the school. They found it enormously rewarding to be able to help the people in the community that had given them such a life-changing adventure. Since then, the organization and its fellow travelers have made several trips to other countries in Africa and have been able to deliver an estimated 1,000 pounds (453 kgs) in donations of clothing, school and medical supplies. Now that’s what we call traveling well.