On March 30, OPXers were fortunate to participate in the 7th Annual Outreach Project: Oral Rehydration Therapy with Temple Beth El and Immanuel Church on the Hill in Alexandria, VA. Volunteers assembled packets of dry ingredients (a combination of sugars and salts), which will be packaged and shipped under the auspices of the United Nations and other charities to scenes of natural or manmade disasters around the world.
In areas where war, famine, floods, earthquakes and other disasters wreak havoc in the local populations and inhibit their access to water, dehydration is not only a serious threat, but a leading cause of death.
An easy and effective treatment and preventative measure for dehydration is Oral Rehydration Therapy. It consists of drinking a simple solution to replace water and salts lost from the body. Water is added to a prepared packet containing sodium and electrolytes, which encourage the quick absorption of water in the digestive system. The packets assembled at Temple Beth El included white sugar, salt, baking soda and potassium; these are all easy and cheap ingredients that have a life-saving effect.
The event at Temple Beth El brought together several members of the community, both from the Alexandria area and from other organizations throughout the DC/Metro regions. Packets prepared in past years were used in Haiti after the 2009 earthquake, and in the Philippines where first Typhoon Bopha in 2012 and then Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 killed more than 6,000 people, washed out entire villages and disrupted clean water supplies.
While sitting at long tables with fellow volunteers, we were able to meet and speak with many new people, all with the same desire to help others. It was a great opportunity for outreach and camaraderie, especially when reflecting on the fact that such a small effort on our parts would have a hugely important and positive impact on distressed populations across the globe. It was a very humbling and rewarding experience and OPX was happy to do our part.