‘Pack for a Purpose’, and the Sandals Foundation are Helping Caribbean Travellers Spread Gratitude
The Sandals South Coast Resort recently hosted the founder and chairperson of ‘Pack for a Purpose’. They are an incredible non-profit organization that has been changing the face of travel across the world.
In 2010, Rebecca Rothney started the United States-based ‘Pack for a Purpose’ programme. She invited travellers to extend gratitude to the countries they visit by donating much-need supplies to their destination country. Some of the needed items listed include school, medical, hygiene and other supplies to their destination country.
Since then, what started with 29 partners across 15 countries today comprises of 450 partners in 60 countries. To date, the organization has facilitated travellers donating over 430,000 lbs of supplies to underserved communities around the world. Their website provides an in-depth needs list for each destination around the world. Thereby facilitating travellers making informed decisions on what to buy and donate.
MAKING THE CARIBBEAN CONNECTION
In 2011, Pack for a Purpose made their debut in the Caribbean by connecting with its first partner, Sandals Foundation.
“It was Nina Patel, a travel advisor and the owner of ‘Vacations That Matter’ who introduced the Sandals Foundation to our team at Pack of a Purpose, said Rebecca; She knew of the work of both organizations and thought we could bring great value to each other and more importantly to the Caribbean region.”
“The impact that that partnership has left on both entities, the multiple communities across seven islands in which Sandals and Beaches Resorts operate, and the guests, has grown tremendously, and this has not been by chance,” says Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of The Sandals Foundation
Leveraging The Sandals Brand
“Travellers staying at Sandals or Beaches Resorts will hear our team members talk about our work within the communities and encourage them to get involved. Those who want to find out more about what we’re doing are also guided to the Pack for a Purpose website to learn how with a small space and a little effort, they can also make a big difference,” says Clarke.
In order to gain additional support for the cause, The Sandals Foundation dispatches pre-arrival emails and information packages to guests. The packet contains information about the opportunity to give back.
Travel Agents are also part of the awareness machinery. They are introduced to the programme at various travel shows and marketing events.
“Currently, about 50% of our guests are participating in the program, and this number has been growing steadily since the beginning of the partnership in 2011,” says Clarke.
Benefiting institutions include infant, primary and junior high schools, women’s centres, medical facilities, post-secondary institutions, infirmaries, and various communities.
PLEASURE AND PURPOSE
The Rothneys made their first visit to Jamaica in July. In like manner, they did not miss the opportunity to pack for a purpose. The Rothneys travelled to Savanna-La-Mar accompanied by Sandals Foundation volunteers from the Sandals South Coast. The purpose was to deliver donated supplies to young people from underserved communities within the parish.
SMALL SPACE, BIG IMPACT
“I believe people are kind and generous, but they need the information to do that effectively. You don’t want to take things that aren’t needed because that’s a waste,” says Rebecca. “Our website gives travellers the information that they can be 100% sure that the gift of gratitude that they’re taking to the community is exactly what that community needs.”
The partnership with Pack for a Purpose has been welcome support to the Sandals Foundation’s mandate. Their mandate involves empowering Caribbean people and making the region a better place to live. Through continued growth, Pack for a Purpose can attract more participation and, together, help meet practical needs within communities.
For loyal Sandals Resorts guest, Shannon Hopper, giving back has become an integral part of her vacation itinerary. “After many trips to Jamaica, my husband and I feel that it is our home away from home! We are so fortunate to be able to travel here and enjoy the beauty and hospitality of the island. But it’s also important to realize that while we enjoy a beautiful paradise, this is not the reality for many of the residents. Donating supplies or some of our vacation time is the least we can do to help the country we have grown to love so much”.
How to Participate in Giving
Persons travelling worldwide can visit the Pack for a Purpose website https://www.packforapurpose.org and simply select their country destination. A list of supported partners and projects with supply needs is available for viewing.
Travellers who might not be staying at a partner location can still participate in giving. By reaching out to Pack for a Purpose, they will connect travellers with the closest local partners, where the traveller can drop off their donations.
“Ultimately, we want travellers to remember that when they choose to pack for a purpose, the trip they take goes much farther than the miles they travel,” says Rebecca.