Traveling Mercies founder and director, Aldo E. Magazzeni, was born in Abruzzo, Italy in 1949 and lived in a rural mountain village, poor and damaged by the effects of World War II. At the age of 5 years old, he immigrated to Philadelphia, PA with his parents. Aldo graduated from Bishop Neumann High School and was matriculated into Penn State University where he received a B. S. in Business and Humanities. In 1973, while at Penn State, he met and married Anna Ziegler, a graduate of Kimberton Waldorf School and Temple University.
After graduation from Penn State, Aldo entered the work force with the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, Juvenile Probation Office. Being a counselor was his early passion and interest. Working with individuals, families and communities was a great experience that proved useful throughout his life. By 1980, Aldo left the court system to begin a new chapter in his life, which included purchasing and developing real estate projects. This included restoration of historical buildings as well as building homes in Jamaica. He also began to start and acquire many small businesses in the retail, construction, service and manufacturing sectors. In 1990 Aldo, with partners, founded Champion Fasteners, Inc., a small start up company that grew from only five employees. Through hard work and small acquisitions along the way, the company grew into a successful operation with fifty employees and recently celebrated the 17th anniversary of the company.
Combining a penchant for mountain climbing with a love of community service, Aldo began performing volunteer service in the US and abroad. Since 1998, Aldo has traveled to, and worked, with communities in Italy, Jamaica, Haiti, Mexico, South America, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kenya, Ethiopia and others. His affiliation with volunteer groups include local churches, The Salvation Army, The Women of Hope, and The Nyumbani Children’s Home, to name a few.
In 2002, Aldo led a local community group to successfully complete the first self-help project in Pennsylvania. It delivered water and sewer to over fifty homes and businesses at a very low cost in South Coventry. Aldo's next projects focused abroad. He helped start and support day care centers and shelters for children and adults in Afghanistan. He has worked to improve hospital conditions in various foreign countries, started training centers in Afghanistan’s women’s prison and personally organized the building of twelve water systems in Afghanistan villages, which provide fresh water to over 75,000 people. Aldo has also traveled and volunteered in Louisiana and Mississippi shortly after Hurricane Katrina. There, with the help of Burlington County and NJ vocational schools, over $15,000 in new computers and supplies were provided to assist damaged schools to begin rebuilding. In 2006, Aldo went to Kenya where he assisted Father D'Agostino in building a self-sustaining village for HIV orphans and installed a very large water system for that village. In Ethiopia, Aldo assisted the Mission of Charity, Mother Theresa's home for people sick and dying of AIDS.
Aldo created Traveling Mercies in October of 2007, a non-profit 501(c) (3) foundation. In 2009, in partnership with the Jesuits and the International Rotary, Traveling Mercies provided a well to a school in need in Nairobi, Kenya. Traveling Mercies has also been assisting Tashirat Orphanage in Mexico for the last two years with various projects, and support for the children's lunch program. Additionally in 2009, aid was provided following the devastating earthquake in the Abruzzo Region in Italy.
Traveling Mercies' purpose is dedicated to helping others, while creating a vehicle to remove barriers between cultures so that individuals can share their strengths, assets and blessings with each other. Human equality is most important and can only be achieved through compassion, love and sharing our life experiences.
Aldo has photographed images and written stories of the places, the people and the work he has experienced during his travels. His photographs of Afghanistan and Kenya, Africa are exhibited within the tri-state area. He also speaks to various organizations, schools and communities to share his experiences and to create awareness, as well as donations for planned projects. Please visit our Schedule of Events page to inquire about an exhibit or speaking engagement near you.