High school senior raises $7,000 for wells in Africa
November 25, 2008 · Updated 2:08 PM
ARLINGTON — When Megan Edmonds was a freshman, she got involved in a project to raise money to build water wells in Africa. At that time she fasted for 30 hours. Last year she attended an auction and started thinking about doing one of those to raise money build more wells in Africa for her senior project this year.
“God put this in my heart,” she said. “It’s really hard to think about it,” said the 18-year-old high school senior. “I can’t even imagine not being able to turn on the faucet and get fresh water. And they have to walk for miles for any water at all.”
Her senior project culminated Nov. 9 when her auction raised $7,000 to buy five wells. Her goal was $1,400 for one well.
“It was so cool,” Edmonds said, adding that she handed the money over to the donor relations coordinator of World Concern that very night. The communications officer for World Concern, Derek Sciba said he was very impressed.
“I don’t know how many lives will be touched because of Megan’s fundraiser and the generosity of the Arlington community,” he said.
“To be sure, there are people who will be receiving clean water for the first time in their lives. They will have a much better chance of taking a drink and not getting an intestinal parasite or some other kind of disease.”
While she came up with the idea an entire year ago, Edmonds started planning the event with gusto at the beginning of this school year.
“The first thing was to secure a location,” she said, adding that her own church was not available on Sunday nights, so she arranged to hold the event at the Arlington Free Methodist Church.
“I figured Sunday would be best because there wouldn’t be other things going on like the high school play,” she said.
She got a lot of help from her mom and dad who collected donations from their friends, the family and the business community. They auctioned baskets and many other donations, Edmonds said. Her grandmother even donated a quilt, although she didn’t make it herself.
Then she started spreading the word, hanging fliers around town, and sending e-mails to all her friends and relatives. Edmonds also recruited a team of volunteers comprised of members of the AHS Honor Society and other friends. They helped serve the donated cheesecake to all the people who showed up.
Edmonds knows that the economy has put a strain on nearly everyone, but she believes this was the perfect opportunity for people to show compassion for those who struggle every day to find food and clean water.
“It was really awesome that our community of Arlington can impact people on the other side of the world,” Edmonds said.
Now all she has to do is document her hours, write a reflective letter and prepare to give her senior project presentation in January, with the other early birds.
Megan learned about the water well project through World Concern’s Global Gift Guide at www.worldconcern.org/ggg.
Pennies from Heaven
Other Arlington Free Methodist projects are benefiting the unfortunate in other parts of the world as well. The Pennies from Heaven fundraising project for Haiti has yielded $3,063 donated by Arlington Free Methodist church members and others in the community, according to Jeanne Wessel.
“The donations have been sent to Haiti to help purchase food, clean water and provide for medical needs of the poor.”
Continuing in that effort, the church also held a garage and bake sale and aluminum/copper recycle drop off at the Arlington Free Methodist Church youth center Nov. 14 and 15. Eighty percent of the garage sale and recycle funds will go to assist Dessalines Hospital where Dr. Jerry Rusher has been volunteering for the past two months, Wessel said.
“He is now is semi-retired from Cascade Family Medical Group.”
A film about the needs of Dessalines Hospital is available at www.helphaitiheal.com.
Twenty percent of the garage sale income will assist poor people in Guatemala through a micro-loan program that gives small, no interest loans to those who need help starting a project that will allow them to make a profit. Some raise crops or farm animals. Some purchase sewing machines to become a tailor in their community. Recipients then pay back the loan and the money is made available to others. Educational support is also given to help those in the loan program be successful.
Information about both projects will be available at the garage sale, Wessel said.