By Samantha Bell |
SANDY HOOK – The Key Club at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) hosted a unique fundraiser April 17, drawing attention to the plight of many in developing nations who do not have ready access to fresh water.
During the school’s first Walk for Water, 232 people, including students, families, friends and neighbors, walked 1.25 miles along the school’s multiuse path, only a third of the distance many must walk for water. While walking, each participant carried two 1-gallon containers of water weighing 16 pounds to simulate a portion of the weight many people around the world must carry on their trek.
Participants also visited a Tent City parking lot to join in a second challenge course using water canisters identical to those used by people in developing nations to collect water and deliver it back to their village.
The event raised nearly $7,000, funds which will go toward a project that builds wells in villages so residents have easier access to water.
The project, part of Project Thirst, the world’s leading youth water activism organization, was started by teenagers in California and has spread across the country. High school and college students raise funds to build the wells in impoverished communities to provide people with safe, clean water.
“We have never run an event like this before,” said junior Carlee Dunn, a member of the Key Club. “We were inspired to host the Walk for Water event by a Thirst Project presentation given at the New Jersey District of Key Club International’s District Convention (DCON) last year.”
Carlee admitted that, until hearing the program, “most of us had never heard of the world water crisis before, nor had we ever really thought of daily life in the affected communities. People in those communities need something we take advantage of every day and we saw an opportunity to help rectify that issue,” she said.
“Life in the community improves greatly once a clean, consistent water source is established,” Carlee explained. “Disease rates drop and quality of life in general improves. Our goal, besides raising the money for a well, (was) to give attendees a chance to experience a fraction of what these communities experience every day.”
The event also included an information table about the nonprofit Project Thirst and a food stand run by the Keyport Kiwanis, the Key Club’s sponsor. After the walk, many participants stayed for a kick ball game and an obstacle course.
Key Club members and other students at MAST had already begun the well-building fund drive through candy cane and bake sales, a Thirst Gala and other small service projects and events, but the Walk for Water was their major fundraiser.
For more information visit my.thirstpro- ject.org/team144949.
This article was first published in the May 10-17, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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