By Christie Duffy
“It was a call for help. And my grandmother who is about 80 years old has never asked me for anything ever in my life,” said Operation Amira Founder Elijah Wells.
She called from Brooklyn, but Well’s grandmother is originally from Sierra Leone.
It’s one of the West African countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis. Roughly 5,000 killed by the disease have died in Sierra Leone and medical supplies and clothing are desperately needed there. Wells says clothing and medical supplies are desperately needed.
Wells also has an aunt who founded a school in Sierra Leone, but the Ebola crisis has prevented her from opening the doors to students. She spoke with us today from London about the situation back home.
“All schools in Sierra Leone are closed indefinitely,” Hope Academy Founder Aliea Kamara.
Kamara says in the meantime, the schools’ staff has spent what little money they have on buckets of hand sanitizer and other supplies for the surrounding villages. She says Ebola has turned her country upside down.
“No shaking hands, no hugging anymore,” said Kamara.
On the ground here in New Jersey, Wells is asking to fill barrels with supplies. The barrels are labeled Operation Amira, named for his late mother who was born in Sierra Leone. They’re located at three schools and a church throughout Jersey City. From now through November 7, he is calling on the community to respond to the Ebola crisis abroad.
“Used clothing or new clothing and also medical supplies such as rubber gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, goggles, protective suits, white sheets, and clear plastic garbage bags,” said Wells.
He already has six barrels full of clothing and medical supplies but he says he really needs more.
“If we don’t stop it there in Africa, where it is originating in West Africa, then obviously we live in a much more global society today and we are going to suffer the ramifications of that here in the states. And that’s what is happening right now,” said Wells.
Wells plans to invest over a $1,000 of his own money to ship the supplies. He’s hosting a family-friendly benefit in Secaucus on November 7 with the hopes of collecting enough money to send the supplies to Sierra Leone.
Learn More about Operation Amira on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/operationamira