“Simple Works – West Africa” is a plan addressing three critical needs: purified water, fortified food and medical supplies.
“We wanted to focus on simple practical things that everyday, ordinary people could do,” Sims explained. “I think most of us are frustrated by complex problems and complex solutions, and large institutions and even governments that don’t seem to do much, or we may not know what it is they are doing. So our plan is to do something very simple.”
Sims became interested in the Ebola fight after hearing that fellow alum Brantly had contracted the virus while working as a medical missionary in Liberia.
“Kent is a good friend of so many people in the Abilene Christian University community, including one of Global Samaritan’s board members, Brian Thomason (’99), who roomed with Kent in college,” Sims said.
“Like everyone nationally, we were interested in Kent’s story. But like others with ACU connections, we become interested personally as well,” Sims said. “But it was Kent’s focus on the Liberians and other West Africans and his poignant call to be compassionate, to help the thousands who have this disease – as Kent pointed out, the Africans with Ebola were largely ignored before he contracted Ebola – that really moved us.
“We asked, ‘Why doesn’t somebody do something?’ Then we realized we are somebody,” he said.
Stopping Ebola and other killer diseases in West Africa is the key to stopping the spread of diseases to the United States and other countries, Sims said.
He believes Global Samaritan’s plan will work “because I think people are hungry for a set of practical simple solutions that they can be a part of. Our partners are people we know by name. The people they help they know by name. We are interested in sustainable, ongoing relationships with partners we can send food, water and supplies to. And it is something that every day ordinary people can be a part of.”
To that end, Global Samaritan has created a website through which donations are being accepted for specific needs. For instance, $35 will provide a SaveStraw portable water filter/purifier that can be used in any water source to provide clean, safe drinking water. A $65 donation will provide fortified food for a family of five for five days. Other donations provide medical supplies and larger water purification systems.
“Our plan is to send at least three containers full of water systems, food, and health and protective equipment to our partners in West Africa,” Sims said. “It is something that every day ordinary people can be a part of. Together, we can make a real difference.”