Are you looking for ways to give back while living on the road but aren’t sure where to start? Fear not! Today we are sharing easy and practical ways you can make a difference, even while roaming the country in your home on wheels. From small changes, like where you buy your groceries, going green, donating to one of our 59 National Parks and volunteering at local non-profits, we’ve got the details on how little efforts can add up in a big way.
This is an excellent and fairly simple way to give back to the communities you travel through while on the road. Check the web for local farmers markets for your next grocery run. While dining at multinational chain restaurants is the easier choice, get outside of your comfort zone and try a local mom and pop restaurant for your next lunch and coffee break. Purchase local art, plants or tools from local shops. Anytime you pull out your wallet, ask yourself, “is there a local store I can be contributing to with this purchase?” These choices add up and really go a long way.
There are endless opportunities to volunteer while you’re traveling. Look into local shelters, food banks, habitat for humanity, community events, libraries, schools, hospitals, senior and children’s centers to find out where your talents can be used. Have children? Opt to coach a little league game. Or teach swimming lessons at the Y. Tutor a student. Fix a meal for a family in need. Get creative here! There is nothing more valuable than your time and energy.
This is an excellent way to give back to our planet. Try leaving your RV at camp and take local transportation to town or opt to rent a bike from a local business. Offsetting your carbon footprint for those highway miles is an important way to give back. Bring your own bags when you go to the store. Keep your reusable water bottle on you at all times (in the city, on a hike, during those long driving days). Use rags instead of paper towels for clean up. Buy produce that isn’t wrapped in plastic or styrofoam (farmers markets are a great place to buy unpackaged foods). Use natural cleaners that aren’t harmful to the environment. Practice the principles of Leave no Trace. Walk instead of drive if your destination is under a mile! There are endless ways to make your impact a little lighter.
Photography: Gabriel Jimenez
If you’re unable to volunteer your time but still want to give back, there are a number of really great programs you can support. While we’ve all heard horror stories of organizations pocketing donated funds, we hope this doesn’t keep you from donating, if that’s where your heart is. That said, we encourage you to do your research BEFORE blindly typing in your credit card number. First ask yourself, “what am I passionate about?” Whether it’s disaster relief, animal protection, education, curing cancer, sponsoring a child, civil rights or environmental research, look into the top rated charities. Forbes released a list of America’s Top Charities in 2017 last year where their highlighted data helps you understand where donated money goes and how to spot charitable scams. Figure out your passion, do your research and donate to a charity that is close to your heart.
You may have heard of people “woofing” their way across Europe, but did you know that there are over 2,300 organic farms you can work at across the United States? WWOOF stands for “Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms.” It is an excellent program that promotes educational work in exchange for basic accommodations and food. If you’re an RVer who’s looking for an education in organic farming without paying a dime, this program is for you. Not to mention, your agricultural work and new found knowledge is a great starting point for giving back to the planet.
National Parks Services
Last but certainly not least, we’ve got to shed a little light on the wild places that keep us on the road, America’s Beautiful National Parks. The Wilderness Society is the National Parks donation platform that works to protect our public lands. Their mission, stated on their website reads, “We are committed to the idea that wilderness and all public lands can bring people and communities together and that everyone should share equitably in their benefits.” Guided by science, learning and creative solutions, Wilderness Society aims to preserve the land for future generations. If you’re not able to donate to the cause, your time is just as meaningful. Next time you go to a National Park, bring a trash bag with you and fill it up on your hike. Recycle, only hike on paved trails and do not interfere with wildlife. These simple practices go a VERY long way in conserving our wild spaces.
Are you looking for further resources on ways you can give back? Check out our recent interview with West Sacramento’s Chamber of Commerce President on How To Give Back in Your Community. If you have a cause you support, let us know in the comment section!