Charity Tuesday: Rachel’s Ninth Birthday Wish for Charity Water

Rachel Charity Water PageInstead of asking for gifts like most girls turning nine, Rachel Beckwith only asked that her friends and family donate to Charity: Water so that more children would live to see their fifth birthday. When her own birthday arrived on June 12, she had raised $220 — a very admirable amount, but $80 short of her goal.

Sadly, Rachel was involved in a serious car accident. She spent three days in the hospital before passing away on July 23, 2011,  just a little more than a month after her ninth birthday.

In the days following, thousands of people visited Rachel’s Charity Water Page to donate money to her campaign and leave messages for Rachel and her family. On the page, Rachel wrote about her reason for starting the fundraising campaign:

“On June 12th 2011, I’m turning 9. I found out that millions of people don’t live to see their 5th birthday. And why? Because they didn’t have access to clean, safe water so I’m celebrating my birthday like never before. I’m asking from everyone I know to donate to my campaign instead of gifts for my birthday. Every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund freshwater projects in developing nations. Even better, every dollar is “proved” when the projects are complete, and photos and GPS coordinates are posted using Google Earth. My goal is to raise $300 by my birthday, June 12, 2011. Please consider helping me.”

Though it is sobering to read this message in light of Rachel’s passing, there is much inspiration to be taken from the comments beneath it. Thousands of people have donated, and beside their donations they have left their sympathies and well wishes.

UPDATE: Her initial campaign is now closed. The final donation total was 1,265,823.

Rachel’s mother Samantha posted a message thanking everyone for their donations and kind words:

“I am in awe of the overwhelming love to take my daughters dream and make it a reality. In the face of unexplainable pain you have provided undeniable hope. Thank you for your generosity! I know Rachel is smiling!”

More than $160,000 worth of the donations were raised by Rachel’s church. It was at this church that Charity: Water’s co-founder came to speak, thus inspiring Rachel to start her campaign. Visit Rachel’s Charity: Water for information on how you can help continue the legacy left by 9 year old girl.

Australian Chef Criticized for Charging for Tap Water

Bottled WaterIs Australian chef Mark Best justified in charging for tap water at Marque Restaurant, his restaurant in Syndey, Australia?

Best stopped selling “boutique bottled water” and instead offered customers treated tap water for about half the price of the bottled water he previously sold, according to a Reuters article. He did so because he considers these bottled waters to be wasteful and wanted to provide an eco-friendly alternative.

Best installed a water filter system that filters, chills and carbonates the Marque Restaurant‘s tap water. And while he could have raised his pricing across his menu to make up the cost, he wanted everyone to know they were being charged for tap water. He charges the equivalent of $5.31 in US dollars for all the tap water a patron cares to drink. The 500 ml bottles of boutique bottled water that he sold in the past cost twice that much.

“I’m not highly political but I want to make people aware and this is just one initiative,” Best said.

While many patrons were unhappy about it, charging for tap water is not illegal if it has been treated — and Best’s $6,000 Italian-made water filtration system certainly does that.

If Best’s main goal in charging for tap water was to make a statement and “raise awareness of the need for restaurants to be socially responsible and reduce plastic waste,” we would say he succeeded. What do you think: is Best justified in charging for tap water or not?

New Jersey American Water Announces Tap for Tap Contest Winners

New Jersey American Water recently announced the winners of its “Tap For Tap” contest, in which New Jersey K-8 students wrote and performed original songs proclaiming the greatness of tap water. The entries in the contest were judged by how well the song lyrics and dance routien extolled the benefits of tap water.

You can see these videos and more at New Jersey American Water’s Youtube Channel.

Conover Primary School

The students at Conover Primary School choreographed a dance routine that allowed the whole class to participate, with individual students coming up to deliver their own lyrics in between the chorus of “Tap water — T.A.P.!”.

Madison Elementary

The students at Madison Elementary rapped about how “Water to drink, drink, drink, helps the brain think, think, think.”

Jefferson School

The fifth-graders at Jefferson School sang “Tap water is good for your body, tap water gives me energy, tap water is good for your body, so drink some tap water for me” to the tune of “My bonnie lies over the ocean.”