Holiday Good: Passports With Purpose Uses Social Media to Help Build a Village in India


Experienced that overwhelming feeling of holiday stress yet? You know, the one that hits you the second you see Christmas displays at your local grocery store not even a few seconds after the Halloween candy has been moved to the discount shelf?

The holiday season is full of an array of wonderful things: good food, family, friends, candles, kitchens filled with the smell of baking, the potential for snow, vacation – the list goes on. But there’s also the consumer-induced stress that’s indicative of the season, and even if you yourself have given up the tradition of conventional presents and gifting, getting away from the onslaught of “buy buy buy” can be difficult. Sometimes downright impossible.

That’s why it’s refreshing to see all those holiday initiatives that are focused on something bigger. Taking the spirit of the season and getting people really excited about doing something good instead of stressing over when and where they’re going to pick up last minute presents. Passports With Purpose (PWP) is making that happen with social media.

Started as a way to rally the power of travel bloggers – who all believe in the “power of travel to change the world” – PWP has evolved into a major social media giving campaign, involving not only bloggers, but online travel companies and corporate sponsors. The money all goes to a selected non-profit, this year, LAFTI, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the Dalit (untouchable) population in India.

“As bloggers, travel or otherwise, we seem to live in a bubble – sitting behind our computers as we talk AT the world. Passports with Purpose allows for engagement between the other participants, the companies that have donated items for prizes and our readers, who are thrilled to be part of such an effort. And we can feel oh-so-good in the process,” says co-founder Beth Whitman.

The initiative, in its third year, is simple: bloggers host a prize on their site, and a $10 donation gets you a raffle ticket to enter to win the prize of your choice. That makes giving not only simple, but doable.

“Personally, I like the idea that instead of spending ten bucks on a stocking stuffers, you can make a ten dollar donation. Maybe it’s a ten dollar donation, that’s all it is, and it goes towards our beneficiary this year. But it could also be a ten dollar donation AND a luxe hotel stay or some cool gear or any number of great things. Maybe we mitigate some of that mad frenzy of holiday shopping stress by tying the funds to a significant cause,” says co-founder Pam Mandel.

As of the end of November, PWP has already raised $41,000, putting them even closer to their ultimate goal of $50,000.

To find out more and make a donation, visit the PWP website.

Image: mckaysavage

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.