Save room in your suitcase to help others in need!

Posted on July 13th, 2015 by BreAnn

It was SUCH joy to see how excited the kids in Kenya were when we gave them a bunch of jump ropes!

Do you like to travel and want to make meaningful contributions to the local community you are visiting at the same time? Well, thanks to a great online nonprofit company, “Pack for a Purpose,” you can pack a few extra pounds of school supplies, linens, deflated soccer balls, and much more in your suitcase and make a HUGE difference to the country(ies) you are traveling to!  This organization makes it very easy to donate a variety of much needed items to children and families in other countries.

The people over at “Pack for a Purpose” believe that people (you!) who are fortunate enough to travel to other countries often wish they could make meaningful contributions to help meet the needs of the places they visit. And fortunately, this company makes it easy to connect you with an organization where you are traveling to that will make sure your donations go to children and families in need.

Personally, after seeing a lot of poverty while traveling abroad, I really encourage anybody and everybody to take an interest in the communities you visit in other countries, and aim to always leave a positive impact… whether it be volunteering, donating supplies, or just educating yourself on the culture and society around you.

When we saw the school children in Masai Mara playing with a “twine ball” on the playground, we SOOOOO wished we had packed some (deflated) soccer balls for them to enjoy!

When James and I traveled to Kenya, we really wanted to make a difference in the community we would be visiting, so we gathered up a bunch of school supplies in the US and stocked our suitcases with a bunch of goodies for children in need in Nairobi. Through Pack for a Purpose’s website, we were connected to an organization in the city who collected supplies for local schools, and a representative actually MET US AT THE AIRPORT when we arrived!  It was kind of strange, especially because we didn’t have a ton of supplies, but it was eye-opening to know just how desperate they were for donations, and how easy and fluid it was to donate to children in need. I actually wished we had brought more supplies… but was still glad we could help out as much as we could in that moment!

SO… if you traveling abroad anytime soon, go to www.packforapurpose.org and check under destinations to see what organizations need donations in the country you are traveling to. Pack For a Purpose partners with lodging and tour companies in different regions, and these companies become drop-off points for the supplies. These hotels/companies, in turn, distribute the supplies to the local schools or community projects in town. Even if your hotel doesn’t participate, there often will be another one close by who does, and they possibly can arrange a pick up of your supplies.

And ALL YOU REALLY ONLY NEED TO PACK 5 POUNDS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE! That amount would take only a small space, require little effort but still make a BIG impact!

EVEN BETTER: For those of you who get free checked bags (you often get TWO check bags when traveling internationally) and want to make an even bigger impact, think about using an old bag or suitcase—even if it’s damaged—and fill the entire bag with items to donate and just give the organization the whole bag when you arrive!  If you don’t think you can afford a lot to put into the suitcase, then just ask your coworkers, friends, and/or family to toss a few extra items as well.

So the next time you are packing your suitcase for that big trip abroad, consider leaving a little extra room to bring along some donations for kids in need!

And… happy traveling 🙂

 

Here’s a video of James teaching in the Kenyan school we volunteered at for one week:

One response to “Save room in your suitcase to help others in need!”

  1. Dear BreAnn and James,

    On behalf of Pack for a Purpose, I want to thank you so much for the great article you wrote, and for helping us spread the word. If you are comfortable, please send me an email address for contacting you as I have a special e-card I would like to send along. If you have the time, I would also like to be in phone contact with you. If you choose to send me your email, and would not mind sending me a phone number and a best time to reach you, that would be lovely.

    With appreciation,
    Rebecca Rothney

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