It's a tale as old as time.... an introvert falls in love with an introverted extrovert. Enter:...
Giving Back on the Road: RVers with a Purpose
When we first bought an RV, I was curious about the sense of community that I might feel with fellow RVers. Would it be the same as our block parties and driveway chats in my former 'sticks and bricks' home? Turns out.... it's pretty awesome! The RV community is doubly great because it lives in two places: you'll find amazing neighbors in the spot next door at your campground, and also online through social media and helpful forums!
Once in a while, we have the distinct pleasure of combining these two communities by spending time with folks we also support online! Recently, at the Nation's Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pennsylvania, we were able to catch up with Joe and Tara Meyers from World Share. I was lucky enough to meet their family in person a few months back while camping in Florida, and have been keeping up with their story on social media. When we found ourselves in the same campground again in Pennsylvania, we were excited to catch up!
For the Meyers family, living full-time in an RV for most of the year is the perfect choice for this season of life. They love seeing the country, teaching their children, and making connections wherever they roam. Their favorite part of life on the road, however, is the opportunity to help others! Their strong passion for service has led them to create World Share, created to help families in need. We sat down with Joe and Tara for a chat to learn about the wonderful things their family has been up to for communities all across the country!
Tell us about your family!
We're the Meyers family - Joe, Tara, Aden (8), JJ (3) and Mickey our dog. We've been on the road since June 2021, traveling in our 32' Palomino Puma travel trailer and Ford Excursion we affectionately call Carl and Ellie (we're big Disney fans, so we named them after the characters from Up!). We travel nearly full time, but we still have a 'sticks and bricks' home back in Minnesota that we rent out on AirBnb when we're on the road.
Tell us about your service projects!
We started World Share back in 2018 organizing service excursions for cruise travelers. When the pandemic hit and shut down the cruise industry, we put everything on hold, but quickly realized there was an even greater need to spread hope and love with kids across the country who were impacted so much by the pandemic. So we bought a truck and travel trailer, sight unseen, and hit the road a few months later! We were completely new to the RV world, but we felt called to go and serve, and this allowed us to make that happen.
We created Impact Kits that we distribute to kids in underserved communities, oftentimes partnering with Boys and Girls Clubs and local churches to get connected in each city. The kits include a booklet we created that has words of encouragement from professional athletes, a celebrity chef, and activities and free content from our brand partners GoGo SqueeZ, Happy Camper Live, and RightNow Media. We also include healthy snacks and a bookmark with a handwritten note of encouragement in each kit.
We typically try to host one large service event per month, and then partner with local organizations to distribute kits in each city. By the end of 2022, we'll have distributed 5,000 kits to kids across the U.S.!
What does it mean for your kids to be involved in these projects?
We believe in life service, not lip service. It's important to us to give our kids opportunities to show kindness and help others - and we've been doing that since they were toddlers. Our youngest son, JJ, loves to put the stickers on the Impact Kits, and he knows when we put our purple t-shirts on that we're about to go do a World Share day!
It can be really tough to find volunteer opportunities that allow kids to participate, yet kids absolutely love to help others if given the chance. It's not uncommon for our kids to leave a city and the best part of their trip was the service project we did. And we think that's pretty awesome!
Do you love living on the road?
We absolutely love being on the road. The RV community has so many incredible people we've gotten to know over the past year and a half. We like to spend our time in each city really getting to know the local community and culture, and teaching our kids about the history of each place we visit.
How can other RVers help in your mission?
We would love for other RVers to connect with us and be inspired to serve in their community or the places they travel! There's a few ways people can help our mission:
Follow us on IG @worldshare.family - and tag us when you serve!
Share our mission with others and help inspire more people to make an impact
Join our newsletter at www.world-share.org to stay up to date on mission events and opportunities
Donate to help support Impact Kits and World Share Days for more kids! We are a 501(c)3 and 100% of donations go directly to outreach and are tax deductible. You can donate at www.world-share.org/donate
Spending time with the Meyers family is always fun and inspiring. It got me wondering about other ways travelers can use their mobile platform to be a light for others across the country! Here are some other opportunities for the whole family to use your time and talent to help others:
Check out Shar and Phil Roos' story, who created 'A Year To Volunteer'. If working with your hands is your style, check into their upcoming projects! To date, their organization has logged almost 35,000 volunteer hours and plan to continue their impressive projects in all fifty states.
Habitat for Humanity features RV Care-A-Vanners, which connects RV travelers to building opportunities across the country. See how you can get involved on your next trip!
For federal volunteer opportunities, you can check out Vounteer.gov. Here, you can search opportunities by location, by cause, or by skill/difficulty level to match your family's needs.
If you're feeling isolated or in need of community while traveling on the road, or if you simply want to give back, there are so many opportunities to lend a hand and make new friends! Do you have a favorite way you give back while traveling? We'd love to hear all about it in the comments!
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