Westwood Baptist funds fresh water in poorest parts of world

Published 10:31 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Youth and college groups at Alabaster’s Westwood Baptist Church recently smashed their fundraising goal for a water-based charity project, and are looking to continue raising money throughout September.

In early August, members of the church’s leadership council began planning their back-to-school activity for the Westwood middle, high school and college groups when they discovered the national Charity:water organization.

Charity:water coordinates with groups across the country to raise the money necessary to drill groundwater wells for those living in parts of the world without plentiful fresh water.

“Several months ago, we were thinking about what kind of project we would do with our students for back to school,” Westwood Student Pastor Micah Millican said during a Sept. 1 service at the church. “We said ‘let’s do something that will challenge all of us to impact the world.’”

On Aug. 4, Westwood leaders challenged the youth and the church congregation to make financial sacrifices to help raise $10,000 for the project by Sept. 1.

“We had a goal of $10,000, because $10,000 would provide two freshwater wells,” Millican told the youth congregation during the service. “We all have everything we need, so why don’t we all give so others can have?”

Though Millican said raising $10,000 in a month seemed like a high goal, the Westwood youth helped the church smash its goal and raise $14,000 in four weeks.

“We are going to keep this going through September, I think we can raise $20,000,” Millican said, drawing applause from the youth. “People are going to live because they will have access to clear and fresh water.”

Many of the church’s teens and college students donated their entire paychecks to benefit the charity, some sold extra clothes to consignment stores and others donated their savings to the project. The church also sold armbands, T-shirts and other items throughout August to help the Charity:water fund.

“They could have used that money on anything, but they chose to give it to this,” Millican said, noting the church fund likely will benefit those living in Central Africa. “We wanted people to know that, as Christians, we care about this.

“All of Charity:water’s administrative costs are handled by private donors, so every cent you give goes to put in freshwater wells,” Millican added. “Most people around the world struggle to find the amount of water we use with one flush of the toilet.”

Once the fundraiser concludes at the end of September, the church will donate the money it raised to the Charity:water organization. About a year after the organization receives the donations, it will send Westwood pictures and the GPS coordinates of the wells the church members funded.

To learn more about the fundraiser, visit mycharitywater.org/westwoodstudentministry, or call the church at 664-0122.