When Rebecca and Scott Rothney took a trip to Africa, they recognized that they had a luggage limit of 40 pounds for the safari portion of their trip, yet the international airline regulations allowed them a total of 140 pounds per passenger maximum, with checked and cabin luggage combined. What if there was a way to use that extra 100 pounds of packable space to deliver school supplies to a community in need at their destination? Their first attempt required lots of groundwork and research to find the needs of local communities…so they’ve taken on all that hassle for us, and created Pack for a Purpose, a website asking you to pack just a simple extra five pounds in your luggage of needed items for the destination where you are headed. There is a page of drop-down menus for destinations in ten global regions, and within each destination category, specific hotel/lodge/resort properties where you can drop off your bundle, and the specific needs of that community (health clinics, schools, etc. needing things like bandages, over-the-counter medicines, soccer balls, pencils, children’s shoes, etc). There is also specific advice on how best to pack–which items should be left in original packaging, which should be streamlined for saving space, and more. The drop-offs are expected at the properties, and they get the items to the community, so it really is effortless on our part.
I wish I had known about this prior to my recent visit to South Africa–it would have been great to bring requested supplies to local orphanages and schools near where we stayed.
Check out the site, and then check it out again when next you are traveling. Five pounds is nothing, and also guarantees some packing space on the way home for souvenirs you buy from artisans to support the local community.