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No Vacation Required Podcast

For fulfillment fanatics interested in traveling deliriously, living deliberately, and working virtually.

How To Help When Disaster Strikes

NVR Guys


The other day, upon arriving in Los Angeles, we were moving at a snail’s pace through Avis’s car rental check-in process. The dreadfully slow service didn’t matter much because we, along with the other forty or so people in line, were absorbed in what was happening on the television.

People suffering the after effects of the Philippine’s typhoon were sharing personal accounts of what was happening. Most were crying as they spoke; many mentioned the need for food and other assistance. The woman in front of us in line turned back and said, “What can we do to help? You can’t just write a check made out to the Philippines.”

Starting up a conversation with her, we learned that she knew of a lot of relief organizations but didn’t know which she could trust. She said this dilemma usually leads to inaction on her part.

If you want to help the people suffering in the Philippines – or any other time a tragedy strikes – here are a few suggestions. We have worked closely with each of these organizations and can attest to the fact that, when compared to their peer organizations, they do solid work. With these organizations, assistance doesn’t come only in times of crisis. They work year after year, building infrastructure in countries where it’s most needed.

Check them out:


Mercy Corps


Also, please have a look at what our friends at Expedia (we do travel writing for them as Viewfinders) are doing to help in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan. You can give back without spending a dime.

Since we’re fast approaching the giving season, it’s a good time to remember that suffering isn’t limited to tragedy. One of the cornerstones of our NVR life – a big take-away from the traveling we’ve done – is that we’re in this together as global citizens. As people who live with the luxury of opportunity, it’s our job to help make the world more hospitable for everyone.

We all do better when we all do better = one of our core mantras. Given that, we do what we can to make a difference as we navigate life. Recently, as part of our time at the New York City Wine and Food Festival, we had the opportunity to learn more about a fantastic charity. Share Our Strength is working to ensure that every child has access to healthy food every day.

Even here in the United States, the need is greater than you might suspect. Our time aligning ourselves with Share Our Strength lead us to a screening of A Place At the Table – a movie that confronts the disturbing reality of hunger. Consider these facts from the movie:

• Definition of Food Insecure – At times during the year, uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all household members because of insufficient money or other resources for food. • 1 in 6 Americans – 50 million – is food insecure • 1 in 4 American children – 17 million – is food insecure (2010). • 85% of those families that are food insecure have at least one working adult it the
 household. • 44 million Americans are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 
(SNAP), what we used to call food stamps. One out of every 2 kids in The United
States at some point in their childhood will be on food assistance. • Food stamp eligibility is based on total household income. To qualify, the income
 for a family of 4 cannot exceed $29,000 per year. • The average food stamp benefit is under $5 a day. • In 1980, there were 200 food banks in the U.S. Today, there are over 40,000 food
banks, soup kitchens and pantries.

As huge proponents of nutrition (and education) for all, we’re making big plans to jump in to advocate for national/international food security. Stay tuned for details.

When hardship strikes, we’re all reminded how cruel the world we live in can sometimes be. The challenge is to remember that millions of people in your country and in your world endure unthinkable distress every day.

How will you help lighten the load? How will you flex your global-citizen muscle in order to make the world a bit better before you leave it?