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Group works to finance well

Goal is to provide water for 400 third-world residents for 20 years.

November 11, 2010|By Michael J. Arvizu, michael.arvizu@latimes.com

Ministry Spotlight is the La Cañada Valley Sun's occasional series on area ministries and their activities.

To help combat the lack of suitable drinking water in third-world countries, La Cañada Presbyterian Church's Parent Education Program is holding a fundraising campaign through Generosity Water, a Los Angeles-based charity which helps dig wells in third-world countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, Laos, Malawi and Ghana.

Parent Education, which holds classes for parents and children, is selling blue or silver stainless-steel water bottles, emblazoned with the Generosity Water logo, for $15 each. For every bottle sold, $5 will go toward financial support of Parent Education's programs, with the rest going toward digging one well that will be capable of sustaining 400 people in a third-world country for 20 years.

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According to Generosity Water, more than 1 billion people around the world do not have access to water that is free of contamination, and one child dies every 15 seconds from a water-related disease.

As a mother of two young children, La Cañada Presbyterian Church Generosity Water Chairwoman Dede Cook cannot fathom a world without suitable drinking water for her family. Yet, she said, this is a fact of life for millions of families living in some of the world's poorest regions.

"I think there are a lot of people, especially in these communities, who are unaware that this crisis exists," said Cook, a La Cañada resident. "I can't imagine my 7-year-old son coming to me and saying 'I'm thirsty,' and I have to say to him, 'Well, tomorrow you can have water, because we have none today.'"

What's more frustrating, said Parent Education Program Director Anne Bierling, is that most areas have a workable water table. Yet, people living in those areas lack the technology or money to gain access to it.

Bierling chose to spearhead the fundraiser at La Cañada Presbyterian after attending a conference this summer and listening to a presentation by Generosity Water.

"Originally, our goal was a well," said Bierling. "But now the response has been so great that now we would like to build not just one well. Once the money is earned for a well, Generosity Water selects the community. They dig the well."

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