Every year, natural disasters kill 90,000 people and affect nearly 160 million people worldwide. Depending on the severity and location of the disaster, communities can spend hundreds of billions of dollars recovering. Disaster relief initiatives support these affected communities in some of their worst times of crisis.
For the people of Beirut, Lebanon, August 4 of this year is a day they’ll not soon forget. A massive explosion killed hundreds and wounded thousands, with the blast creating a pressure wave that was felt more than 150 miles away. It was one of the most significant explosions of modern day; the blast not only killed and injured residents of Beirut, but the aftermath left nearly 300,000 homeless.
Following the disaster, a local Lebanese seminary, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS), used one of its university buildings to house 50 displaced families. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and summer break, the university building was mostly empty, thus providing dorm rooms for more than 150 people in need.
As soon as Wellness Advocate Anita Delhass-Van Dijk heard about the blast, she immediately made plans to help. Anita is the owner of her own nonprofit organization, Re-Starter, and therefore knows that time is of the essence when helping those who have been impacted by any type of disaster. She reached out to the dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation® to set up a matching campaign to convert the empty college dorms into temporary housing, and provide food for those staying there.
Anita and Blue Diamond Victoria Plekenol championed fundraising efforts on their end, and the dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation matched the donations. With this financial support, the families staying at the ABTS dormitories received three meals a day. The funds also secured necessary items for the dorm rooms, like beds and refrigerators, and paid for vans and transportation. Students and volunteers came to the aid of these displaced families, donating time and effort to provide support during such a tumultuous and uncertain time. For the families affected by the explosion, losing their homes in the middle of a worldwide pandemic—even as their home country was already struggling economically—felt like the last straw.
Because of help from Anita and Victoria, the dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation, Re-Starter, ATBS, and other devoted volunteers, these families had a place to rest and food to eat while they determined how to come back from such devastation and tragedy.
COVID-19 seemed to change the lives of everyone around the world overnight. The global pandemic caused overrun healthcare facilities and quarantined populations, and left frontline workers with limited or no access to personal protective equipment (PPE). Without PPE, frontline workers were left vulnerable. The dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation, with the help of dōTERRA Wellness Advocates, immediately responded to the global crisis with cash donations and frontline support kits.
dōTERRA® employees, following all COVID-19 guidelines, assembled 15,000 kits during a three-day service opportunity to support healthcare workers and first responders. The kits included medical-grade nitrile gloves, disposable medical masks, and other items. dōTERRA wanted to protect each frontline worker with PPE, as well as offer each worker products to support him or her in other aspects of life during this hectic year.
This project was made possible through a US and Canada matching campaign, with a goal of raising $250,000 through donations and sales of dōTERRA Spa Rose Hand Lotion and the Limited Time Offer Shea Butter Collection. All sales proceeds went toward the campaign, and we reached our goal in just 13 days. The dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation double-matched the $250,000 raised for a total donation of $750,000.
The matching campaign took place in April 2020. By May 14, more than 15,000 kits had been distributed. These kits were taken directly to frontline workers by amazing dōTERRA Wellness Advocates in 44 US states and five Canadian provinces.
Additionally, the dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation supported Days for Girls in their COVID-19 relief efforts with a cash donation of $250,000 to the Masks4Millions campaign. This campaign employed their sewing centers (used by women to sew reusable feminine hygiene products) to create fabric masks in communities around the world.
On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew devastated the city Les Cayes, Haiti, home to the doTERRA® source of Vetiver Essential Oil. 70%-80% of the homes in Les Cayes lost their roof or were flooded. The doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation helped to rebuild Haiti after this devastating natural disaster.
In this podcast episode, we talk with Mark Wolfert, founding executive, and Joy Wu and Sandy Schuffler, doTERRA® Wellness Advocates, about the way the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation responds to disasters and works to support communities around the world.