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Pack for a Purpose: An easy way to make a difference while traveling

Have you ever thought about the way in which the millions of travelers who trek all over the globe each year could facilitate the delivery of much-needed supplies in all these corners of the world? Or the tremendous impact it could have?

Rebecca Rothney and her husband, Scott, did. They started the non-profit organization Pack for a Purpose™ to put the two together. Pack for a Purpose™ is a newly founded nonprofit organization dedicated to providing needed educational materials and simple medical supplies to children around the world in places without these everyday necessities. The organization was founded on the principal that every little bit helps, and all it takes to get involved is to reserve a small amount of space in your luggage for supplies when packing for a trip abroad.

Here is what Rebecca says about the birth of the concept and organization:

During our first trip to Africa, my husband Scott and I learned that while we 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, we looked into visiting a school near the lodge we would visit in Botswana. We contacted our safari company, Wilderness Safaris, to see if we could determine any specific needs of that school. Armed with that information, we were able to deliver 140 pounds (64 kgs) of school supplies, including soccer balls, to the school. It was enormously rewarding to be able to help the people in the community that had given us such a life-changing experience."

As Rebecca's experience shows, this is an incredible way to give back to the people of the places we visit, instead of only seeing what we came to see, and then leaving.

The concept is simple. Pack for a Purpose recently launched a Web site, www.packforapurpose.org, which lists the location and contact information for lodgings and sites around the world that already sponsor or support legitimate educational and medical community projects for children in need. A contact person at each listed location has submitted some of their specific needs to the Web site based on the types of projects they sponsor.

All travelers need to do is visit the site, find a listing for a location near their destination for an upcoming vacation, honeymoon or business trip, and bring a few pounds of the requested supplies in their luggage to drop off when they arrive. Each listing on the Pack for a Purpose Web site has been notified about the program, has agreed to participate, and will eagerly welcome all contributions from travelers.

“We can all find a little space in our luggage for a small bag of supplies and if enough people make small contributions, we have the potential to make an enormous positive impact," Rebecca adds. "While crayons, Band-Aids and similar items are very simple things that most Americans take for granted, many people in the places where we have travelled just don’t have them. We can help fix that, one traveler, one trip and one donation at a time.”

For more information about Pack for a Purpose, travel locations, lists of needed supplies and other ways to get involved, visit www.packforapurpose.org or email packforapurpose@gmail.com.

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