Global Samaritan Celebrates 22 Years Being Good Samaritans
Global Samaritan Resources is in need of volunteers. If you can help out, here’s the contact information you need:Global Samaritan Resources
2074 North 1st St
Global Samaritan began in 1999 with a very simple mission: Collect surplus goods and share them with people in need. We started in the back of a truck. Today we have shipped goods to people in need in more than 56 countries on five continents.
By LORETTA FULTON
That’s really all you need to know about Global Samaritan Resources, which celebrated its 22nd year in operation on July 15.
The first two words in the center’s slogan–love and hope–are essential to what Global Samaritan has been doing since it started in 1999 from the back of a truck. But Chris Meeks, treasurer, reminded those attending the July 15 birthday party that without the third word–logistics–the love and hope wouldn’t be shared globally.
“Without our organization,” Meeks said, “the logistics of getting there does not happen.”
The party was exceptional, with a live band, food trucks, bouncy house, and tours of the 55,000 square-foot warehouse led by Meeks, Chance Loomis, director of warehouse operations, and Deborah Meador, director of development.
The tour wandered through the various sections of the sprawling warehouse that is filled with everything from medical supplies to office furniture to children’s books. Loomis reminded people on the tour just how much Global Samaritan relies on the Good Samaritans in the community and globally.
“Everything in our warehouse is donated,” Loomis said. “We do not purchase anything.”
The tour began in the medical supply area, where plastic bins are filled with unopened bandages and needles, IV supplies, walkers, and more. Used suitcases are stacked nearby and are given to people who want to fill them with medical supplies and take them on a flight to a place that needs the supplies.
For its larger shipments, Global Samaritan partners with vetted organizations around the world. No items are sent to individuals, Meeks said, just to trusted global partners that distribute the goods in their region.
The staging area of the warehouse is filled with boxes of items stacked high on pallets. The entire stack of boxes is shrink-wrapped and readied to load into containers for shipment to a port in Houston. From there, those boxes may be sent to any place in the world that is in need.
Many of the boxes will have messages or drawings done by children, the result of a “happy accident,” as Loomis called it. Originally, children were given that task as a way to occupy them while their parents volunteered in areas of the warehouse.
But Loomis learned that the pictures and messages were cherished by the recipients, especially refugees living in tents or small shelters.
“They were cutting them out and hanging them on the walls,” Loomis said.
Since the drawings and messages have proved to be so popular, Global Samaritan now schedules periodic events for kids to decorate the boxes. The next event is coming in September.
One of the most popular sections of the warehouse is the book room, with shelves filled with a variety of types of books that are donated by libraries, schools, and individuals.
The latest huge donation came from the Friends of the Abilene Public Library, which gave Global Samaritan 20,000 books that were left over from a book sale held in June. Books are given to people who can’t afford to buy their own.
“It’s the largest little free library there is in Abilene,” Meador said.
Children’s books are especially valued because of their dual use. They are popular locally with parents who might not be able to buy new books. And, they are popular with people in other countries who are learning to speak English. The simplicity of the children’s books makes them ideal for that purpose.
The book room continues to grow and has become one of favorite sections of the warehouse for Loomis and volunteers who sort the books. People needing the free books like it, too.
“It’s become a very popular room,” Loomis said.
Loretta Fulton is creator and editor of Spirit of Abilene