In the past year, I’ve been learning a lot about clean water action initiatives. It started last fall when a friend enlisted me to help her raise money for the Deep Freeze Dunk. It’s a Polar Plunge-style event in MN that involves jumping in a frozen lake in the name of raising money for a good cause.
Yes, that’s me. In 14 degree weather, in a bikini, jumping into a lake surrounded by ice and snow. And you know what? It was totally worth it. Our team raised over $8,500 to help build a community well in Haiti.
We even made the local news.
I’ll admit, I first joined our fundraising team because I thought jumping into a frozen lake sounded like a cool adventure I wanted to try. I soon learned there was so much more at stake. For example, in Haiti, over 5 million people do not have access to clean water. That’s something I’ve always taken for granted. If I’m thirsty, I walk into the kitchen and pour myself a glass from the tap. I don’t have to walk a couple miles to fill a jug from a stream where people are washing their clothes and bathing. I don’t worry about contaminants and the spread of illness. Heck, I don’t even worry about water temperature – I just grab some ice and I’m on my merry way.
The reality is that I have it pretty darn good, and I need to appreciate that more. That’s why the jump was such an eye-opener for me. Now, when I have extra time or money to donate, I choose to put that towards charities that support clean water action and make a global impact. Here are 3 of my favorites
Haiti Outreach is the organization I jumped in the lake for this past February. They’re local to Minnesota (where I live) and raise funds on behalf of their Community Well Project. They work to identify and engage communities in Haiti to install and maintain a community-run well. Not only are they providing access to clean water for the community, but they’re also setting them up for self-sufficiency so they do not remain reliant on donations to continue the program after the well is built.
UNICEF is a globally-recognized charity that works on many projects to benefit people worldwide. UNICEF Australia has a great WASH program (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) that helps to build sustainable water systems. Their donation listing provides a great overview of what your money is helping with, such as providing a filtration system for a family or procuring piping that will allow them to build infrastructure to bring clean water to new communities.
My friend Erica first introduced me to Charity: Water. Their mission is “to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person on the planet.” That’s a lofty goal, but they’re already making progress. One of the reasons I really like donating to their cause is because they use 100% of all public donations to directly fund water projects for communities in need.