When the Clinton Street Church of Christ decided to organize a fundraiser to help provide clean water wells for people in South Sudan, Africa, they had no idea of just how successful the event would turn out to be.
Minister Mark Claypool had become familiar with the group Healing Hands International and their Walk 4 Water fundraisers which help the non-profit organization to provide clean water sources to people in desperate need of them, and wanted his church to participate in this important outreach.
“There was kind of an awareness on our part, that there’s this kind of suffering in the world , and we wanted to at least put a small dent in it,” Claypool explained.
The group, which set their goal at raising $4,800, put the word out to friends and family and went around to local businesses looking for sponsors for the event.
The response was excellent, and the church was pleased with the number of people and organizations who wanted to help.
One group that stepped in to help with the project was the local high school DECA group, a marketing organization that was “looking for opportunities to practice marketing skills,” said Claypool.
“They basically kind of jumped in there with us,” Claypool said of the group of students, “they helped with the advertising and did the banner for us. A number of their members walked among those who walked that day.”
“They asked to be a part after we started, and we welcomed that. We welcomed anyone to help,” he added.
On Saturday, September 15, all of the organizational effort culminated in the actual walk, which was a four-mile stretch along the lake at the city park.
“Four miles is the average distance people walk in third world countries to fetch dirty water,” Claypool explained, calling this particular distance a “symbolic gesture.”
“Imagine starting your day by having to walk four miles just together the water your family will need for the day,” asked a flyer from Healing Hands International, “This is the startling reality for almost one-third of the world’s population. They depend on water sources like rivers, streams or ponds filled by rainwater all of which often dry up during the dry season.”
About 45 walkers showed up for the fundraising event in response to their desire to help raise money and awareness to help less fortunate people who so desperately need sources of clean, accessible water.
In addition to those walking, funds were sent in from donors in various states. A large donation also came in from the Community Church of Christ in Bowling Green totalling around $6,500, and another matching donation came from an anonymous Tennessee donor.
All in all, the group blew their original goal out of the water, bringing in about $18,000 to be used to build clean water wells.
“Given the great response to this year’s walk, it’s something we’d like to do annually,” Claypool said.
Sponsors for this year’s event included Bel Cheese, Byrd Tool, Cecilian Bank, CD’s Inside Flea Market, Fleener’s Home Planning, For Myself Florist, Future Designs, Grayson County DECA, Grayson County EMS, Grayson County Farm Bureau, Hardcore FX, J. C. Lee and Sons, Midstate, Premier Restoration, Twin Lakes Plumbing, and Worley Printing.