Local nonprofit sends final shipment to Georgia (for now)

Jun 12, 2014

Patricia Blair and Mel West present the final shipment of aid to be sent to Georgia. ACTS has shipped 2,800 containers to Georgia as part of Operation Provide Hope.
Credit Bailey Harbit / KBIA

A Call To Serve International sent their final shipment of aid to the country of Georgia Thursday, unless it can find other funding. ACTS has been sending aid to the country for 22 years through the U.S. State Department’s Operation Provide Hope. ACTS has sent medical supplies and books, baby quilts, wheelchairs and food to Georgia since 1992, when Georgia was cut off from resources provided by the former Soviet Union.

The U.S. State Department declined to continue funding for the program in order to focus on other nations, effective the end of the current fiscal year.

ACTS founder and president Patricia Blair said aid sent the last 22 years has provided the people of Georgia with help and hope.

“The Georgian people need a little bit of help, they need a little bit of hope, and sometimes that hope is just knowing that someplace in the middle of America, in the heartland of America, we know their name,” Blair said.

ACTS has shipped 2,800 containers to Georgia since 1992. 100 of those shipments originated in Columbia.

The final container shipped Thursday contained more than $350,000 dollars in donated goods.

Mel West is the president and founder of Personal Energy Transportation International, or PET. His organization has been partners with ACTS since 1997 to provide mobility devices to disabled people. West said in order to keep sending aid to Georgia, new funding is needed.

“We hope to be able to find funding, to ship the containers over because they have many more people that need them,” West said.

Blair said she is confident that ACTS will continue to ship aid with more reliance on private resources and partnerships.