Fundraiser for access to clean water raises around $2K

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Rob Le Cates

Members of the Newman Catholic Center Roy Lanham, the director of campus ministry, Brianna Bartosz, a senior communications disorder sciences major, and Erin Zurek, a graduate student studying communication disorder sceinces bring water from Lake Charleston to Sister City Park after walking a mile there and back Friday afternoon. Zurek has been doing this for three years and hopes that people will help contribute to the cause. “It’s just an hour out of our day,” Zurek said. “We didn’t even walk that far compared to like how other people who don’t have reliable access to water, who would have had to walk in order to survive.”

Ryan Meyer, Multimedia Reporter

Gray skies and cold weather provided the backdrop to the Walk for Water on Thursday evening as part of Haiti Solidarity Week. 

The event saw members of the Newman Center community and the Haiti Connection walk from Sister City Park to Lake Charleston and back bearing buckets of water in an act of solidarity with those in Haiti who have to travel long distances to get access to clean water.  

Brianna Bartosz, a senior communication disorders major, is the chair for the Haiti Connection and described the purpose of Walk for Water.  

“This is a moment for the Haiti Connection to walk in solidarity and be in union with the thousands of women and children around the world, especially in Haiti, who are walking miles for clean water that they can’t have, that they don’t have,” Bartosz said. “Everything is donation-based, so everything that we make goes towards that water project.” 

The thermometer hovered around 40 degrees during the walk, but Christopher Halle, a graduate student studying exercise physiology, said he thought the turnout was still good.  

“I think it went really well,” Halle said. “I know last year we had some really good weather and obviously we had a bigger turnout because of that. But still, even with the bad weather we still had a really good turnout today. Even though about half the people didn’t show up, we still had a lot of people who did want to come and still want to make a difference.” 

Bartosz and Halle both said the hike was a challenge, but all the participants were game to complete it.  

“It was very slippery, very wet,” Bartosz said. “But it was amazing, it was just a true moment of beauty and God’s grace that I asked everyone, ‘Does everyone still want to go all the way to the lake,’ it’s very hilly, there’s lots of ups and downs to it, and everyone says, ‘Yes, let’s go to the lake.’ So that was just a beautiful moment to just see.” 

Halle said his reason for participating this year was because any help counts and it can inspire others, adding that as a college student the help doesn’t always come by way of money.  

“I’m always one to try and help out, I’m very active in the Newman community, and I love always helping out,” Halle said. “Here in the States we are very privileged to be able to have things such as clean drinking water and be able to have warm homes at night and be able to really live in luxury compared to these third-world countries…So any little bit that I can still help out still counts.” 

Roy Lanham, the director and campus minister at Newman, explained the meaning behind the nearly-two mile walk that the participants did to fill up their buckets and bring them back.  

“So today is really about helping people to realize, ‘Dang, if I have to walk this distance all the time, every day of my life, I wouldn’t take a shower very often,’” Lanham said. “Or now I recognize the difficulty that people have, so access to water is huge in this world of ours.” 

Lanham estimated the donations’ final amount to be close to $2,000, which he said would provide 200 families with clean drinking water. 

“Our small effort today translates into some real difference in people’s lives,” Lanham said.

 

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]