Every Monday night at 9:00pm, us Traveling Moms get together on twitter to chat family travel under the hashtag #tmom. No matter what the topic is Pack for a Purpose usually comes up. Whether its chatting the Caribbean, resorts, or just teaching your children to Pay it Forward through travel, people want to know more about Pack for a Purpose.
Rebecca Rothney, Pack for a Purpose Founder & Chairperson
Pack for a Purpose was founded by Rebecca Rothney. Rebecca was a traveling kid just like mine and took her first overseas trip at 11. She has since been to 40 countries and 7 continents. The idea for Pack for a Purpose came about while Rebecca was in Africa. She and her husband Scott got to visit an elementary school much like I did with the kids in the Turks and Caicos. The difference being they brought 150 pounds of supplies. Makes my measly zoo book seem less impressive. To be fair the animals in the book wear underpants. After that initial trip, Rebecca and Scott managed to bring 1250 additional pound of supplies and realized so many others would do this if they only knew.
Pack for a Purpose Around the World
What surprised me most about Pack for a Purpose was frankly that it was also in the the Caribbean. In my travels, I have often heard of people donating school supplies to Africa but it never occurred to me in all my trips across the Caribbean to bring them there. Pack for a Purpose actually works with hotels and tour companies in more than 50 countries with more than 370 hotels accepting donations. You don’t even need to go to the schools or within the communities to make a difference.
How Can You Help?
So what does this mean for the average traveler? Whenever you book a trip, just click on this site and enter your destination. An entire list of community projects and schools will be presented to you and you can choose if and what to donate. I highly recommend bookmarking the site and also showing it to your kids. Mine were blown away by how many kids just like them needed their help. An important thing to note is that you do not need to stay at the participating hotel, they will accept donations from you no matter where you are staying.
Is It Really THAT Easy?
It is. Pack for a purpose recommends you bring about 5 pounds of donations and doesn’t ask for anything more unless you have the space in your suitcase. The small amount that everyone brings combined together makes a huge difference to these communities. Some people bring only a pound and Pack for a Purpose is glad to take it.
Pack for a Purpose even has a packing guide to answer all your questions based on what you are trying to bring from school supplies to clothes and medical supplies. They will also tell you everything you need to know about customs in the country you are bringing the supplies in to. Easy peasy.
I was so inspired by our school visit and seeing how happy the children were with a new book that we decided last minute to help them out in another way. Luckily, our hotel, Beaches Turks and Caicos, actually had a washer/dryer combo in the room and I simply washed all the children’s clothes we had and left them with Beaches Turks and Caicos which was a participating hotel. It was January and I knew by summer my kids would no longer fit in them anyway. It definitely made for a much lighter trek home.
Other Ways to Donate
Not traveling anytime soon but want to help. Check out their online donation site.
Pay It Forward Friday
Do you know an organization that should be featured in Pay It Forward Friday? I’m always looking to help spread the word on ways families can help other families, locals, environmental groups or animal groups while on vacation. Leave a comment on this post or email me directly at email@example.com.