In January 1990, Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse in the USA approached George Hoffman, who was formerly the Director of Tearfund, to become the UK Executive Chairman of the charity in the United Kingdom.
Samaritan’s Purse International was launched in the United Kingdom in May 1990 when Dr Billy Graham visited Scotland. The purpose of the Charity is to seek to meet the needs of suffering and hurting people around the world whilst sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. After just twelve months, Samaritan’s Purse had a support base of over four thousand people from a cross section of churches, fellowships and individual Christians.
Following George Hoffman’s sudden death in October 1992, the organisation continued to develop and the Board of D irectors appointed David Applin as Executive Director in 1995.
In the same year, Operation Christmas Child, the Wrexham-based children’s charity, announced its merger with Samaritan’s Purse.
After the merger, OCC founder David Cooke shared his excitement about the new venture “It makes a lot of sense. We have been working with Samaritan’s Purse for the last few years. Our objective is to glorify God through this work and help children in crisis. By combining forces, we believe we can reach more children far more quickly. We believe a marriage of the expertise of the two organisations will better serve the cause of both but, more importantly, the cause of needy children throughout the world”.
Since 1995, the organisation has gone from strength to strength and is a credible and fast growing NGO working in countries across Eastern and Central Europe and increasingly Africa and Asia . Emergency Relief remains at the core of the organisation , and the organisation has recently responded to the Tsunami in South Asia, the Sudan / Darfur Crisis and the Bam Earthquake. Meanwhile Operation Christmas Child continues to grow, delivering over 1 million shoeboxes to 14 countries in 2005.
The current Executive Director, Simon Barrington says “At the heart of Samaritan’s Purse is the desire to reach out to the victims of poverty across the world, motivated by our Christian faith, and seeking to glorify God in everything that we do. It is this focus that has seen the organisation grow substantially in recent years, as donors and volunteers join forces with us to meet the critical needs of those we serve in the name of Jesus”