Charity Profile: Pack for a Purpose

June 10, 2013  By: Gretchen

Today we want to profile one of our favorite charities – Pack for a Purpose (PfaP). Their mission is to positively impact communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to bring meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit.

PfaP Philosophy

There is need everywhere in the world. It can sometimes be difficult, however, to identify specific needs in places far from home. The people behind Pack for a Purpose believe that those fortunate enough to travel to other countries often wish they could make meaningful contributions to help meet the needs of the places they visit. Such contributions are one way of expressing appreciation for the experiences and hospitality they enjoyed in other lands.

The goal of Pack for a Purpose is to assist travelers who want to say thank you in this manner or who simply want to expand their generosity beyond their own communities. The supply lists for destinations on the PfaP website are provided directly by the local community-based projects which receive and use the supplies, enabling travelers to make informed decisions and to bring items which meet the needs of those who will be using them.

Founder Rebecca Rothney shares the genesis behind Pack for a Purpose:

During our first trip to Africa, my husband Scott and I learned that, while we were each 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, Mabele Primary School, near our accommodations 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.

Since then, we and a few of our 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 supplies and medical supplies. I asked a travel agent why other travelers did not use their luggage allowances this way. “Because nobody thinks about it,” he said. That was our “aha” moment.

Scott and I knew from our experiences that bringing large amounts of supplies required a great deal of time and close logistical cooperation with the touring company. We felt we needed to come up with a simpler and more direct way for travelers to bring supplies where they were going.

By asking travelers to pack 5 lbs (2.27 kgs) of supplies, we felt we would be able to involve everyone who wanted to add value to his or her trip by participating. By delivering the supplies directly to the traveler’s accommodation, it would be possible for every traveler to contribute and require no logistical support. That amount would take only a small space, require little effort and still make a big impact.

Who can use Pack for a Purpose?

All travelers can participate. You can ask us for more information or also visit the Pack for a Purpose website. When you choose to bring needed supplies to community projects at your destination, the graciousness of your act not only enriches the local community but enhances the joy of travel.

Participation is easy! Below are the five steps:

  • Select your destination.

  • Find an accommodation and a project it supports.

  • Choose the supplies you wish to bring from the specific items requested.

  • Drop off the supplies at the accommodation.

  • The supplies will then be delivered to the community-based project.

Many of our safaris visit Pack for a Purpose accommodations or are nearby to one, making a stop easy. Contact a Journey Specialist for more information on how you can incorporate Pack for a Purpose on your next safari!

Photo courtesy of Pack for a Purpose