Charity Begins Abroad
If you have ever travelled in really poor countries, you have probably wondered how you as a tourist can help out, other than by spending money for food, lodging, admissions and entertainment. Now there's a Website that can help, if you have extra room in your luggage to bring supplies to charities. It's a UK-based organization at http://www.stuffyourrucksack.com, and it has suggestions for travellers to many countries
Most of the places are in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but there are a few in developed countries as well. For example, if you are travelling to Canada, the Salvation Army welcomes (surprise, surprise) donations of warm clothes, mainly for homeless people who sleep outside in the frigid winter and often cold fall and spring. The only European charity listed is in Latvia, where they request a number of items to pass on to poor people who live mostly outside the capital of Riga.
To my surprise there were no charities listed in Russia, which is known among other things for the large number of children who live in orphanages. But the poverty of many of its citizens is a sensitive topic in this proud, powerful country. And with the current economic downturn there is great need also in many areas of the United States, but no charities requesting donations of goods were listed.
It may not be practical for many people to carry extra weight when travelling overseas, but it is a good idea to offer them information on places that can use their gifts. And giving something back is one way to ease the distress that some may experience when travelling in disadvantaged countries.