This year, for Giving Tuesday, Pack Up + Go is donating a portion of our sales to the International Rescue Committee.

Around the holidays each year, I am reminded of how lucky I am.  I’ve been fortunate to live in a steady environment, received unwavering support in my education, and felt ultimately empowered to take a risk in starting a business. I've had security in knowing that the stability of these systems would allow me to succeed and thrive. Coming off this weekend of thanks, I was harshly reminded this is simply not the case for millions of people worldwide.

On the IRC’s website, a headline reads, “Why Central Americans join the caravan: ‘because there’s no scarier place than home.’” Having just enjoyed a weekend with my family, taking for granted the luxury of our Thanksgiving meal and the simple fact that we can be together in the comfort of our home, this statement breaks my heart. Just weeks ago in our hometown of Pittsburgh, a synagogue fell victim to terrorism because of work they do to support the resettlement of refugees seeking a better future. The news this month has centered around mothers, fathers, and children walking hundreds of miles with just the clothes on their back in a desperate attempt to secure “The American Dream” for their families. Suffice it to say, the reality has not lived up to this dream.

I am no expert in international policy or the process of seeking asylum (please visit the USCIS or the IRC for more information!). However, I am grateful to own a business that encourages open-mindedness and highlights the unique benefits that different perspectives can offer us through the luxury of travel. Our travelers (and team) are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones to engage with new cultures and communities while exploring the rich diversity our country offers, thanks in large part to the United States’ history of welcoming refugees and immigrants.

Last year for Giving Tuesday, Pack Up + Go proudly donated to the Trust for Public Land to support their work protecting our national monuments. This year, we support those who desperately want to be a part of our national community, contribute to our economy, and make our country a richer and more diverse space for all.

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

-Emma Lazarus, New Colossus

*Please note that on Giving Tuesday, all gifts to the IRC will be doubled. Please consider donating here.

Happy holidays,

Lillian Rafson

Founder + CEO