A megachurch in Phoenix, Ariz., kicked off a clean water campaign today by having its college students walk for 12 miles across the city to raise money to build water wells in developing countries.
Palmcroft Church is behind a campaign to raise thousands of dollars to bring clean water to those in Haiti and Ethiopia in order to fight water-borne diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that unsafe water and poor sanitation kill more people around the world than all forms of violence, including war.
Jeff Wolfe, a pastor at Palmcroft, told The Christian Post that the four-hour walk symbolizes the four hours – often both ways – that women and children have to walk to find clean water in developing countries.
His church got involved in the "Dirty Water Campaign" through a video by New Jersey-based Liquid Church and its non-profit Liquid Water. The non-profit uses money raised by churches and individuals to build wells in villages where there are no clean water.
Wolfe said his 5-year-old son saw the video with him and said, "Dad, I think all kids should have clean water, can we go build them a well?"
Thus, the project was born.
After the Easter services, Palmcroft's more than 4,000 attendees will have the opportunity to walk a 100-yard course carrying 47 pounds of water in a ﬁve gallon jerry can to give them an idea of what many around the world go through to obtain clean water.
On Easter Sunday morning, everyone who attends Palmcroft Church will also be given a bottle of "Dirty Water" – a water bottled with tea-stained water inside – and the church will encourage them to drink nothing but water for three weeks.
Then on April 29th, people will be asked to bring back the money they saved on coffee, soda and other drinks and give it toward the clean water projects.
"100% of funds raised will go toward clean water projects for the poorest of the poor. $5,000 builds a well for a community of 400 that will bring clean safe drinking water for 20 years. Together we can change the tide," said Wolfe in a statement.
Rich Birch, vice president of LiquidWater.com, said, "Being able to mobilize thousands of people on one side of the globe to help others on the other side not only brings a solution, but makes a statement from one community to another."
Wolfe told CP that the issue isn't about these countries not having water, it's that they don't have clean water.
UNICEF estimates that about 760 million people are still without access to clean drinking water today.
He emphasized that diseases from dirty water "is the number one killer [around the world], and it's solvable. What part of people's theology doesn't agree with clean water?"
For more information on The Dirty Water Campaign: http://www.liquidwater.com/index.html