Kari Stiles, RN, BSN
Taylor Hospital; founder, Take an Extra Bag Movement
Eat, pack, love. It’s the vacation motto Kari Stiles wishes we’d all adopt. Three years ago, she founded the Take An Extra Bag Movement, which encourages people to fill suitcases with medical supplies, bedding, books and clothing for distribution to nonprofit organizations near their vacation destinations.
Stiles got the idea while visiting Cambodia, where the poverty and desperation—especially that of the child beggars—shocked her. “I sat at dinner the first night and cried,” Stiles says.
And then she mobilized. The Green Gecko Project in Siem Reap, Cambodia, was the first beneficiary of Stiles’ organized donations, followed by Mama Vilma’s Family Home on San Pedro, an island in Belize. “People often travel to exotic locations and never leave the resort because the area is so poverty-stricken,” says Stiles. “What if everyone donated one suitcase filled with supplies to help people who live beyond those gates?”