Traveling is a wondrous experience. It opens our eyes to new ways of thinking and living. We meet amazing people and see breathtaking sites. But we also come across things that are difficult. We encounter poverty, and not just beggar-on-the-street poverty. We encounter poverty that is desperate, that is so entrenched that it seems impossible to overcome. When this happens, we realize just how fortunate we are. At the same time, we often feel so powerless. What can we do to make a difference?
Recently, I came across an organization, Charity Begins, helping travelers to do something productive–deliver needed goods to non-profits in developing countries throughout the world. Here’s how it works: A few months before you take a trip to a developing nation, you contact Charity Begins. They then get in touch with a non-profit at your destination, gather supplies needed by this group, and deliver the supplies to your door. Then you take the supplies with you to the airport, check them with your luggage, pick them up when you arrive, and deliver them to the charity. Kind of cool, right? You literally become a link between worlds.
So consider it next time you’re traveling to the developing world. Or if you’re not traveling, help out by donating needed goods. After all, charity begins at home.