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by Allen J. Sheinman | October 01, 2012
There's an easy way to make a big difference in people's lives around the world -- and all it requires is a modest cost and some extra room in your suitcase. Pack for a Purpose is a nonprofit program in which participants help bring needed supplies to their travel destinations. Here's how it works.

Go to packforapurpose.org and select your destination. There you'll find a list of hotels and the charitable efforts they support. Click into the hotel link to choose from a list of needed items. You don't have to stay at a participating hotel -- just bring the supplies to the property, which will distribute them.

Typical requests include clothing (including gently used items), first-aid and school supplies, sports equipment and toys. Five pounds of materials is the recommended donation. The website includes tips for how best to pack the items, too.

Pack for a Purpose was founded by Rebecca Rothney, an entrepreneur, former teacher and, with husband Scott, an avid world traveler ("We got married in Antarctica," she notes). Since 2009, the program has provided vital supplies everywhere from Belize to Zambia. "Now tour operators like Ecoventura are coming aboard," says Rothney. "If you're thinking about CSR or team building, give us a try!"