Samaritan’s Purse springs into action at local level (July 12, 2013)

Written by Mario Toneguzzi

Published by Calgary Herald on Friday, July 12, 2013

CALGARY — Samaritan’s Purse Canada, a non-denominational evangelical Christian organization, has been providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world since 1973.

Recently, it sprung into action at the local level to help victims of the devastating floods in Calgary and southern Alberta.

From disaster relief efforts around the world to the highly-successful Operation Christmas Child shoebox campaign, the motivation behind them is to provide for people’s immediate physical needs but also to have an opportunity to share with them “the hope that we have in Jesus,” says Carolyn Howarth, senior project communications adviser with the organization.

The Samaritan’s Purse moniker has its roots in a Bible story that is known by all.

The parable of the Good Samaritan as told by Jesus.

“It’s a story about a man who was beaten by a group of robbers and he was left on the side of the road to die. And he was passed by several people who walked by and did nothing to help him,” says Howarth. “But then there was a Samaritan man who came along and cared for this man. Picked him up out of the ditch. Cared for his wounds. Brought him in to the closest town. Put him up in a hotel for the night. And gave the hotel keeper basically his credit card and said ‘any expenses that are needed for this man’s care charge me for it. I’m good for it. I want to make sure that he is cared for’.

“The act of that Good Samaritan, in caring for this man that was beaten on the side of the road, that’s where our name Samaritan’s Purse comes from. So we look for opportunities here in Canada and internationally to meet those kinds of needs for people and to be that purse helping provide for some of those needs and with that same motivation of being able to share. Because at the end of the parable, Jesus tells his followers ‘go and do likewise.’ We are going and doing likewise then, I guess, as we see those people along the side of the road here in our modern day contact.”

Howarth says many of its projects are done through field offices set up in a number of countries around the world. But it also partners with Christian organizations globally by equipping them, often with the financial resources they need, to meet those needs in their community.

The organization offers assistance regardless of religion, race, gender or socio-economic standing.

Its emergency relief programs provide desperately-needed assistance to victims of natural disaster, war, disease, and famine. By offering food, water, and temporary shelter, it meets critical needs and gives people a chance to rebuild their lives.

It also provides quality health care through its medical projects.

Its water projects provide life-saving clean water to those who need it.

Samaritan’s Purse Canada works in about 45 countries around the world while Samaritan’s Purse International, established in 1970, (including offices in the U.S., England, and Australia) is working in more than 100 countries.

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