World Care’s mission is to provide humanitarian relief by recycling surplus materials and supply to create usable resources for health, education and sustainable communities worldwide. We believe in providing tools to those less fortunate and promoting an ethic of community service. We recognize the greater capacities of ingenuity, compassion, service, vision, and leadership, and seek to embody these values in all that we do.
World Care began in 1994 in founder Lisa Hopper’s Tucson home as a volunteer collection of school supplies for local area students. World Care now operates its Relief Center in a former TUSD school with a number of programs including Tools for Schools, which benefit thousands of Arizonans and countries around the world.
Over the last 14 years, World Care has distinguished itself as the go-to organization for providing populations in need with humanitarian aid in the form of health, education, and emergency supplies. We support more than 170 organizations and countless individuals across Tucson and Southern Arizona. We will continue to support the community during their daily crises. Our commitment to recycling, which is a major revenue source, will remain the foundation of the World Care model. Our doors are always open to take in donations from the public and local area businesses so that we can provide no-to-low cost materials to those in need.
As was shown in the aftermath of the Haiti Earthquake, we are the leading non-profit in Tucson for shipping emergency relief supplies to disaster zones. In the coming years, we would like to shift our focus to our emergency relief efforts and re-brand ourselves as the premier Civilian Emergency Relief Center of Southern Arizona. When disaster strikes locally, nationally, and across the globe, World Care will be there to provide essential humanitarian supplies to the victims.
In addition, we would like to offer up our model for other communities to emulate. By providing training and support to surrounding areas in Southern Arizona and around the country, people will be able to respond efficiently to collect donations and meet their own needs during the times of crisis.
The story of World Care began in 1993, when a group of healthcare workers from Washington D.C. traveled to Guatemala on a feasibility analysis project to identify the health conditions and the type of technology needed in rural health facilities. In this specialized team of four was Lisa Hopper who, after a thorough analysis of the present conditions, realized that the real need was not for the complex medical technology, but for the very basic life nurturing necessities such as food, shelter and most importantly – education.
On her return to Guatemala for the final evaluation with the medical team, Lisa also personally brought school supplies and distributed them to the villagers. This thoughtful gesture became a habit and in subsequent trips Lisa provided children with school supplies in Venezuela, India, Mexico, and several countries in Central America. The supplies were garnered through small donations and by recycling school materials. After her move to Tucson, AZ in 1994, Lisa’s simple humanitarian effort continued and was soon translated into World Care.
In 1996, World Care was launched as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Tucson, Arizona. World Care thus began its first program in the area of education and labeled its school supply drive “Tools for Schools.” In its first year, World Care’s Tools for Schools project supported 200 schoolchildren. By 2004, World Care supported over 25,000 children, 268 schools and countless teachers in Arizona. Tools for Schools has been reaching out into other states and countries over the several years, helping others get textbooks and basic school supplies through their local organizations.
With the help of generous individuals who believed in the World Care vision, the organization grew. World Care Board Members and volunteers donated countless hours, professional skills and monetary resources that enabled World Care to expand its efforts into additional categories. Other “Tools” programs were born: Tools for Health, Tools for Emergency Relief, and Tools for the Environment. With all of its activities, the philosophy of recycling and reusing valuable resources lies at the core of World Care operations. To date, World Care occupies the former Julia Keen Elementary School through a partnership with the Tucson Unified School District. The 10 acre facility allows World Care to categorize all in-kind donations and provides working space for hundreds of volunteers who share our interest in helping those in need. Additionally, the facility houses World Care’s own book and thrift store where we sell low-cost books and other goods to the general public. This provides us with an additional source of revenue, which is then channeled back to relief efforts.
In 2011, World Care underwent a transformation and became the World Care Civilian Emergency Relief Center. We realized that we were strongest when responding to disasters at home, throughout the country, and around the world. Since then, a majority of our efforts have been focused on emergency relief. However, we still continue to service the Southern Arizona community. While the “tools” program titles are gone, our recycling, health, and education efforts still remain and define our relationship with local community members and organizations.