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Thousands are expected to benefit from campaign
About a month after Ethan Wolfe, a 6-year-old Phoenix boy, heard that people in Haiti had to drink "dirty water" every day, more than 4,600 people filled emptied water bottles with dollar bills and change as part of the Dirty Water campaign at Palmcroft Baptist Church.
The "Dirty Water fasting" campaign asked people to drink nothing but water for a month and donate the money they would have paid during that time for coffee, soda, juices and other drinks. The most recent count puts the collection at more than $105,000.
All funds raised will go toward clean water projects through Palmcroft's partner, LiquidWater.com. To date, LiquidWater.com has brought more than 45 communities sustainable clean water solutions in countries such as Haiti, Ethiopia and El Salvador.
On average, $5,000 builds a well for a community of 400 that will bring clean, safe drinking water for 20 years. The campaign funds will be used to establish more than a dozen new wells and accompanying clean water projects in the Haiti in 2012 and 2013.
Since the start of the Dirty Water campaign on April 5, several community organizations have indicated interest in self-organizing into a coalition of support for even more projects in the immediate future. "The best part of what we have been able to do with the Palmcroft community is that it has become more than just basic fundraising. We're excited to see a movement organizing in Phoenix to potentially produce 12 months of support for water projects around the world," said Rich Birch, vice president of LiquidWater.com.
The World Health Organization reports that about 760 million people do not have a choice but to use unsafe water with poor sanitation, which kills more people than all forms of violence, including war.
"On our own, we would have been able to raise $20,000 to $25,000 for the cause. But partnering with Liquid Water to empower the greater Phoenix area has allowed us to raise in excess of $100,000 to date. It is exciting to know the impact our community will have for thousands of people in Haiti for years to come," Wolfe said.