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Pat in Front of OB Truck


M. G. "Pat" Robertson has achieved national and international recognition as a philanthropist and humanitarian. Much of his public humanitarian works have been carried out through Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation, which he founded in 1978. Operation Blessing International is a nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid in the form of food, clothing, medicine, and financial assistance to help disadvantaged people and disaster victims throughout the world.

Operation Blessing has provided nearly $500 million in aid -- which includes Operation Blessing donations and matching funds from other organizations -- to assist nearly 130 million people in 50 states and 71 foreign countries.

Numerous presidents, governors, state legislators, and mayors have recognized Pat's humanitarian efforts with citations.

On November 14, 1978, Robertson founded Operation Blessing to help struggling individuals and families by matching their needs for items such as clothing, appliances, vehicles with donated items from viewers of The 700 Club, Robertson's daily television program. However, as requests for assistance poured in, he and the board of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc. (CBN) decided to make a financial commitment to assist Operation Blessing out of CBN's general fund.

Spiritual Roots

Like many of Robertson's other endeavors, Operation Blessing has spiritual roots as well. During a time of Scripture study and prayer, he began reading Isaiah 58:5-11: "Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and to break every yolk? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him. Then you light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; Then your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call and the Lord will answer; You will cry for help and he will say: Here I am."

He said to himself, we must do this. The next day he went on the air and announced to the audience of The 700 Club that he was launching the program.

Pat has been passionate in his efforts through Operation Blessing International and other personal humanitarian efforts. His goal: to relieve human suffering, combat hunger, deprivation, and physical affliction with the provision of food, clothing, shelter, medical care and other basic necessities of life -- all in the name and compassion of Jesus Christ.

From the very beginning, the impact of Operation Blessing increased dramatically as local churches and helping organizations began providing matching funds, goods and services to help individuals in need. With the help of these groups, Operation Blessing began providing low-income families with food baskets, help with delinquent rent and utility bills, new school clothes and other necessities. Special types of needs led to additional projects, such as an annual distribution of thousands of blankets to the homeless and a program that provides seeds for community vegetable gardens.

Foreign Commitment Grows

While Operation Blessing's outreach was spreading throughout the United States, its commitment to helping hungry people and disaster victims in foreign lands was also growing. Operation Blessing began sending food staples, blankets, medications, and other necessities to hurting areas around the world, like famine ravaged countries in Africa and areas devastated by disasters. By its 10th anniversary, Operation Blessing had spent $40 million of its own funds worldwide. Through the cooperation of other organizations, OB had also leveraged that amount to approximately $196 million.

In 1986, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation (OBI) was formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to handle international relief projects. Operation Blessing projects in the United States continued under the auspices of CBN until 1993, when all Operation Blessing activities were transferred to OBI.

The Hunger Strike Force (HSF), OBI's fleet of trucks, was established in 1992. The HSF collects donated foods from produce growers, packers and shippers, as well as non-perishables from manufacturers and distributors. The items are then distributed through a network of cooperating churches and ministries to disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout America. A 35,000 square-foot distribution center in Virginia opened in 1994 and shortly thereafter another one opened in California, making it possible to ship mixed loads of food and other goods. In 1994, Operation Blessing also introduced the Convoy of Hope concept. Through partnerships with churches and other ministries nationwide, the Convoy of Hope has developed into an effective relief assistance and evangelistic outreach which serves tens of thousands of people each year.

Medical Mission Launched

OBI's Medical Missions, which provide medical relief in under-served countries, undertook its first mission in 1994. The program sends volunteer teams of doctors, dentists, other health care professionals, and support staff on one- to two-week missions. While the nature of each mission may vary with the patient needs at the scheduled destination, the teams typically provide a variety of basic medical and surgical services.

"The mission of Operation Blessing International is simple," says Pat, who still serves as OBI's Chairman of the Board. "Its purpose is to help people who cannot help themselves. One of the cornerstones of our Christian faith is to serve others. That's what Operation Blessing International is all about."

Operation Blessing International is a member of the Association of Evangelical Relief and Development Organizations and is registered with the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and the United States Agency for International Development.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
—Philippians 4:13