Thursday, November 13, 2008

Water4Christmas Update

It’s fun to be part of a grassroots movement. That’s exactly what “Water for Christmas” is. Jody Landers has apparently taken a little heat for not knowing what she is doing or not doing it professionally enough. Experienced fundraisers have told her that she needs to set a goal. She thought that providing clean drinking water for entire Liberian villages was enough of a goal. It was all the motivation she needed.

Same with me, and apparently with a lot of other people. It’s amazing to me what regular people “who don’t know what they are doing” are in fact doing.

One person, a graphic design major at the University of Missouri, has created three different “Water For Christmas” t-shirt designs to sell for $20, shipping included. All the profits go for water. She raised $330 in the first 12 hours after the shirts were offered; $440 in the first day. You can get one online at

Another person designed a “Water For Christmas” aluminum water bottle, selling for $15, all proceeds going for water. Available at the Water for Christmas website

Another person started a “Water For Christmas” group on Facebook, which quickly grew to over 500 members. Then they thought, if every member donated $10 on Friday, that would dig a well. So every Friday between now and Christmas will be “$10 Friday.” I wonder how many wells will be dug just from that?

Here are some other stories, shamelessly taken from Jody’s blog :

“One of my Mom’s friends had the phone to her ear to schedule a massage appointment. She hung up and decided to save the money for Water.”

“My sister and her kids set up a Water For Christmas table in their restaurant. In the first 30 minutes, they had $60.”

“My husband’s Dad was inspired by Water For Christmas and is going to set something up in his shop. He is going to put up one of those big water bottles and collect money in it along with having cards and hand outs available for customers.”

Here on the home front, members of the First Family are getting involved. Chip and Marcie have decided not to buy a Christmas tree and instead give that money to Water For Christmas.

Mike and Beth Jones’ family has decided not to exchange gifts with each other but instead use the money for water. They are scaling back Christmas so others can have life. They are writing to friends and family asking for WFC donations instead of gifts. Joce Wetzel is doing the same thing.

What I like about this approach is that no one is being asked to give any money on top of what they would otherwise spend on Christmas. The giver is not being asked to make a sacrifice, just the would-be recipient. But I can tell you this: it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. It feels like it’s going to be the best Christmas ever.

My wife Pam and my daughter Angela are investigating setting up a WFC stand at the Shell station here on Rt. 40 and at the FSK Mall during Christmas. It’s a great idea for involving others in the project and informing people about the need and the opportunity. Wouldn’t it be cool if the movement spread throughout Frederick?

I know that since the Spiritual Renewal Weekend others of you are considering taking some kind of action. I would like to know who you are and what it is that you have decided to do. Shoot me an email at when you get a chance. As I hear from you I'll post your plans so that others can be inspired to take action.

This feels very authentically like what it means to be church. There’s no real vision statement, no real organizing committee, no bureaucratic hoops to jump through. Just ordinary people seeing a need and doing what they can to meet that need, feeding off each other’s excitement, encouraging each other when silly criticisms are heard. Maybe it’s a little naïve, maybe it’s idealistic, maybe it’s even a little reckless.

But don’t tell me these people don’t know what they are doing. They know exactly what they are doing.

© 2008 Larry L. Eubanks

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