At normally its lowest donation time of the year, medical charity Mercy Ships has received a donation of more than $1 million in stock.
Annette Simmons, wife of billionaire Harold Simmons, has given a gift in stock worth $1,015,635.19 to the Christian medical charity, the group announced Tuesday.
“For Mrs. Simmons to step up at this particular time during August – which is always the slowest time each year even in good economic situations – has really given a substantial boost to all our volunteers that are actually out there on the field,” said Sam Smith, CEO of Mercy Ships.
Smith added, “It could not come at a better moment.”
Simmons, who first heard about the ministry several years ago during a church service, called Mercy Ships on Friday to inform it of her donation.
“I’ve known of Mercy Ships for quite a while and wanted to give this gift for a long time,” Simmons said, in a statement. “My particular focus and interest is children. What Mercy Ships does for children with their remarkable surgeons on their hospital Ship in Africa is wonderful!”
Mercy Ships operates hospital ships that dock off the coasts of developing nations where it provides free medical services to some of the world’s poorest people. Medical professionals and other crew members are all volunteers and many pay their own way to serve on the ships.
Since 1978, the charity has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $808 million that have directly benefited more than 2.5 million people. Medical professionals perform surgeries on cataracts, cleft palates, club feet, and facial tumors, among others. They also provide dental services.
"With the way the world is right now,we were all struggling to try to squeeze every little penny out of everything we do," Smith shared about Simmons’ donation.
“To have someone step in at the lowest time of the year and in a very difficult environment and do this really opens ours eyes that there are some very good people in the world.”