‘Charity: water’ to educate public about global crisis

By Emily Herbick

Water is an essential part of life. Many would cringe at the thought of drinking water that was chock-full of parasites. Yet for 1.1 billion people, this is their reality.

On Thursday, Oct. 16, Tyrone Thomas will be holding a fundraiser for “charity: water,” a New York non-profit organization aimed to provide clean water sources, such as fresh water wells, for underdeveloped countries.

Thomas, a second-year law student, will give a presentation at Cakes on Walnut, a dessert bar located at 114 N. Walnut St., about the charity. People will be able to donate to the cause directly, and all of the donations will go toward the water projects.

“(charity: water) puts a face to the issue,” Thomas said. “Until (unclean water) becomes a huge global catastrophe, people aren’t talking about it.”

As this is Thomas’s first “charity: water” event in Champaign, he said he hopes this will introduce the cause and help raise awareness among the Champaign-Urbana community about the water crisis.

“I want to raise funds and I want to raise awareness,” Thomas said. “I want people to come and then I want them to be cheerleaders for what I’ve said to them. I want to garner the interest and I hope to create good cheerleaders and get a good response.”

Thomas said he wanted to host “charity: water” in Champaign at a “non-traditional” venue because similar events usually take place in more metropolitan cities, such as New York City.

“I think that doing smaller partnership things like that is good for the community,” said Trisha Bates, Cakes on Walnut owner and alumna. “It just starts to involve people on a more personal level.”

Michael Wilson, second-year law student, said he will be attending the event.

“I think ‘charity: water’ is a stark reminder of just how fortunate we are to live in this nation,” Wilson said. “We take for granted something as simple as running water, whereas people in other countries, specifically in Africa, don’t have a simple necessity like running water. It just reminds us how good we have it and how we really need to help other countries.”

Wilson said this event is important for University students because it will open their eyes for them to become exposed to a different culture. He said the vast majority of students haven’t had to face anything nearly as difficult as the countries that “charity: water” targets.

Janine Fletcher, second-year law student, said she will also be attending the event and donating to “charity: water.”

“I think what inspires me most is that it’s self-sustaining in a sense that they build a pipe for a population and then the people over there can continue to take care of it,” she said. “I think that’s a great idea that you finish something and then you improve people’s lives for the long-run.”