Drinkable water is something we use every day and mostly take for granted, but a local group of young people is out to increase awareness of the plight of countries where clean water is a luxury.
The Clean Water Project will hold its second annual 5K Run and Water Walk Saturday, March 28. The run will start at 9 a.m. at Methodist Village in Godfrey and the Water Walk will start at 11 a.m. at the Main Street United Methodist Church in Alton.
Proceeds from the run will help provide clean water for Liberians in Africa, whether for acquiring water cleaning materials such as filters or providing education to Liberians about clean water practices, as 83 percent of the nation’s water is unfit for drinking.
“Just like I have experienced personally in my trips to Honduras, access to clean water is key to maintaining good health for both adults and children and your help and support will play a vital role in saving lives,” said Greg Gelzinnis, a member of Main Street’s Mission and Outreach Committee.
Kyle Steward is a Clean Water Project team member based at Main Street United Methodist Church. At the end of the year he will travel to Liberia to help with clean water relief efforts by providing materials and education — which can be as simple as knowing to boil water for decontamination.
“Clean water is the central piece of life,” Steward said. “It shouldn’t be a question of whether people should have access to it.”
Every day, Liberians make long treks to bring water to their families; usually the water comes from an unclean source such as a river. The Water Walk allows locals a chance to fully understand what Liberians go through to get water.
“While our conference has been involved in Liberia for almost a decade now, I am so very proud of the initiative of our young adults from Main Street in taking the lead on this next trip to Liberia,” Gelzinnis said. “(The team) has continued to not only share their heart for missions, but also, I know they have been using their academic talents and creative minds to specifically tackle some of the obstacles that our brothers and sisters in Liberia (and other parts of the world) are facing when it comes to regular access to clean water.”
The walk is a four-mile round trip from the church to the Mississippi River, where participants are encouraged to bring jugs and buckets to fill at the river and carry back to the church. Steward said no one would drink the water from the Mississippi, but Liberians drink very similar water.
The walk is free, and the run has a $25 registration fee. Participants can buy an optional event T-shirt for $15. Lunch will be provided and there will be devotions at the river.
For information or to register, visit www.cleanwaterproj.org.