Whole Life Magazine

June/July 2013

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/133640

Contents of this Issue


Page 8 of 43

city of angels MAKE ROOM IN YOUR SUITCASE More meaningful gifts than candy and coins W ell-meaning travelers have long doled out coins, candy and pens to economically challenged local kids in foreign countries. When faced with a population that may lack electricity, clean water or other 21st century basics, it's natural to want to give something. But how do you know what's most needed? Pack for a Purpose (www.packforapurpose.org) makes it easy to allocate a bit of space in your luggage for school or medical supplies. Such lightweight items as deflated soccer balls, stethoscopes and colored pencils have a weighty impact. Rebecca Rothney began developing the North Carolina-based organization in 2002, after packing her extra luggage space with 140 pounds of school supplies for kids in Africa. Now Pack for a Purpose serves close to 50 countries. Travel writer Jenny Block asks local organizations what would be most welcome in the far-flung spots she visits. "Groups generally provide a list of the things they need in their areas," she says, adding, "It's a good idea to stick to their list." Block notes that they usually need school and health-related supplies. She enthusiastically recalls delivering school supplies in La Paz, Mexico. "We also painted the school, which was in desperate need. It was really nice to be able to make the connection between what you're bringing and whom you're helping," she remembers. "It feels good to help in areas that are so welcoming to tourists, yet where local people By Teresa Bergen often live in unacceptably desperate situations." World traveler Gae Shulman has her own favorite gifts. Eyeliner pencils and baseball caps are appreciated, but her biggest hit is reading glasses. She buys quantities inexpensively in the U.S. and distributes them to people she meets in Africa, Asia or anywhere remote. One of her favorite places was Viet Nam, where she met many hill tribe women who make their living sewing, but have eyesight problems and no access to vision care. "It was amazing," she says, "because the glasses made such a big difference." Rebecca Rothney doesn't expect everybody to drag along an extra 140 pounds, but suggests a mere five pounds of luggage space. Check the website to see exactly what is needed in your next destination. Zambia South Africa Cambodia june / july 2013 FINAL REDESIGN WLT-5-27-11pm.indd 9 9 5/28/13 11:11 AM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Whole Life Magazine - June/July 2013