When COVID-19 started spreading, Water4 immediately began churning out ideas and implementing plans to confront the deadly disease as part of our Africa-based programs. Like Ebola, Cholera and the many other communal illnesses before it, COVID-19 intensified the importance of our work to help bring safe water, hygiene tools and education to the communities where our enterprise partners work. However, unlike the many diseases that Water4 has helped communities around the globe face over the past 11 years, this pandemic was also on our doorstep – ravaging our local community as it threatened those we serve.
For the first time, we were seeing our local healthcare professionals become under-resourced, facing the same daunting tasks that similar workers in developing countries deal with every day. Just like we had seen in our brothers and sisters around the globe so many times before, we began seeing our local frontline workers be the heroes that our community needed, and Water4 set out to say thank you.
We first reached out to one of our incredible corporate partners, Pacha Soap Company. This Nebraska-based business launched a Frontline Workers Kit with products designed to help calm the stressed and overwashed dry skin of health care workers and those serving on the frontlines. We knew this would be a great way to show our appreciation to a few deserving individuals in Oklahoma City. When we contacted Pacha Soap Co. to let them know that the staff at Water4 would like to buy a couple dozen kits, their response blew us away. They not only told us that they would give us the Frontline Workers Kit “at cost,” but they also committed to donating 120 bottles of their hand sanitizer and other products to help our efforts.
Thanks to their generosity, we realized that rather than distributing just a few kits, we would be able to supply kits to an entire COVID-19 response unit at a local hospital! But, to pull this off, we needed an army of volunteers! We contacted our friends at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City to see if they could help. They not only stepped up with great volunteers, but they also decided that our local heroes needed some cookies to go along with their skincare products!
Water4 and Crossings volunteers assembled and delivered a total of 101 care packages to deserving frontline medical workers in Oklahoma City. We first delivered 80 of our Walk4Water buckets filled with the items from Pacha Soap Co., the cookies from Crossings Community Church and a Water4 water bottle donated by our friends at Moore-based Simple Modern Company to the ICU and ER staff at Integris Baptist Medical Center. The remaining 21 kits our staff purchased were then distributed to local heroes nominated by friends and family on Water4’s social media channels.
We are grateful for the opportunity to show our appreciation to these local heroes and to give back to the community that’s helped us serve 1.4 million people these past 11 years. We got to celebrate and support what they are doing locally while we continue to support the frontline healthcare workers globally where our partners serve. It has been a joy to play a small role in supporting our OKC community’s frontline heroes!