Global Samaritan Resources, a local Abilene non-profit, announced a plan Wednesday to send relief to West African countries.
Simple Works, the new initiative, is an effort to provide simple solutions to the complex Ebola crisis in West Africa. The program focuses on three primary needs of people affected by the outbreak. Global Samaritan will send water filtration systems, fortified food and medical supplies to West Africa.
Global Samaritan plans to send at least three 40-foot shipping containers full of supplies by January. Each container will cost $50,000 to load and ship and can easily hold one million meals, systems able to purify millions of gallons of water, and medical supplies for rural clinics and hospitals. The content of the containers will be distributed by Global Samaritan’s partners on the ground in West African countries.
Esther Kissel, Global Samaritan’s director of logistics of and disaster services, is working to coordinate shipping with their partners on the ground.
“This is not something new for Global Samaritan,” Kissel said. “This is what we do. We send shipments all over the world all the time. it’s part of what we do in addition to other things we do around Abilene. This is a natural fit for us, a simple solution for us to coordinate these things and help to effectively stop the Ebola outbreak.”
Danny Sims, executive director of Global Samaritan Resources, looks to approach the crisis in West Africa different than the approach to other larger relief organizations.
“We are frustrated with complex solutions and ineffective implementation that doesn’t seem to make a difference,” Sims said. “If we stop Ebola in West Africa, we stop it from coming to the U.S. We really do believe that simple works.”
Sims and the team at Global Samaritan plan to engage the Abilene community as a first step toward relief. The biggest challenge, Sims said, is overcoming the perception that ordinary people can’t practically fight the outbreak.
“We defer to large institutions and then get frustrated and wonder why we don’t see results,” Sims said. “Small non-profits and people like you and me in Abilene can make a difference.”
Global Samaritan asks supporters for three kinds of help: monetary donations for sending supplies to Africa, social media participation and talking up the fact that Abilene can make a difference.