Appalachian State University’s Wine to Water club is an extension of the organization Wine to Water, a nonprofit focused on providing clean water for those around the world. Wine to Water club hosted their first Walk for Water event on Sanford Mall Tuesday.
Participants of the event carried buckets down to Durham Park, filled and then carried them across campus to represent the millions of women and children that have to walk every day to collect water.
“We have the facts you can read about, but being able to do it yourself gives a better perspective of what it’s like,” Wine to Water club president and junior global studies major Morgan Leonard said.
Walk for Water was intended to take place on World Water Day, March 22, but was rescheduled due to weather conditions.
World Water Day is a day to both celebrate the clean water we have in this country (although it is celebrated worldwide) and also to educate people on the world water crisis, Leonard said.
The club planned Walk for Water on World Water Day as an outreach to the community to educate them on water-related illnesses, people lacking access to water and other water-related global issues.
“We’ve done a lot of creek cleanups and trash pickups in the past but this is the first time that we’ve done an outreach service event on campus relating to world water day,” Leonard said.
Social philanthropy chair Conor Hale said it is easy for us to get access to clean water, but it can be a struggle in other countries; one in ten people do not have access to clean water. While we have clean water sources such as water fountains within reach, another country’s only water source could be tainted.
Wine to Water is a nonprofit dedicated to ending the global water crisis, Leonard said.
“The Wine to Water headquarters is based right here in Boone,” Wine to Water club representative Samantha Edlund said.
The headquarters of the organization are located on King Street, however Wine to Water has global projects in Nepal, the Amazon, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Haiti and East Africa. The organization works in these areas to drill and repair wells, educate and train farmers on sanitation, and bring clean water to communities, according to its website.
“There’s actually a lot of student clubs and chapters all over the country, but we have the convenience of being just down the road,” Leonard said.
Wine to Water partners with several universities, including but not limited to: Appalachian State, Texas A&M, NC State, Indiana University and Virginia Tech.
Wine to Water became an official nonprofit in 2009 when Doc Hendley founded it. Hendley was a bartender in Raleigh when he heard about the water crisis and decided to do something about it.
“He decided to sell wine to provide water, so that’s where the saying comes from,” Leonard said.
Around the time he first found out about the water crisis, Hendley traveled to South Sudan to see what life was like for the people who lacked clean water. He was so impacted by his experience that when he came back, he started getting people together who were interested in the same mission and really figured out what he needed to do to start a nonprofit, Leonard said.
Wine to Water participated in World Water Day this past Thursday by hosting several community events, Leonard said.
“They had a give back fundraising event at Café Portofino as well as Town Tavern in Blowing Rock,” Leonard said.
The idea for Walk for Water stemmed from similar charity events being organized across the country.
Leonard said that other water aid relief walks can be as long as 5 kilometers, because this is an upward average of how long some people have to walk in developing countries to obtain water.
“We’ve seen and heard of successes with the other organizations doing the same thing, so we wanted to try and mimic that,” Leonard said.
Wine to Water club goes on one service trip a year, facilitated through Wine for Water.
“We’re going to Nepal this summer from May 18-27,” Leonard said.
The club sometimes organizes the trip during spring break, but the trips are always based on a 10-day time period.
“A lot of people don’t know about the club, but they do know about the organization,” Leonard said.
For students interested in getting involved in the global organization, Leonard recommends visiting the club for more information.
“We can direct them to service trips, volunteer opportunities,” Leonard said. “More than anything, know it’s easier than you think to get involved in making a difference.”
Story by: Laura Boaggio, Intern Reporter
Photo courtesy of Appalachian State University Wine to Water Club