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St. Boniface introduces Well Wisher IPL to benefit third world water efforts
After reading “A Long Walk to Water,” Sarah Northup and her daughter, Hannah, knew they needed to find a way to help. The short novel by Newbery Medal-winning author Linda Sue Park details the fictional life of 11-year old Nya, who must walk eight hours to get water to support her family. The tale also includes the real life events of Salva Dut, a Sudanese orphan of civil war who eventually ends up in New York and forms a volunteer group to build wells in Sudan.
“We finished the book and we both felt we needed to do something about (water shortages). It was very sad to think there were people on the other side of the world who are just trying to survive because they don’t have necessary means,” said Northup.
She started to comprise a plan. Initially, Northup thought she would simply petition local faith-based organizations to help with a campaign to raise money for a water project. The family had been volunteering at Global Aid Network (GAiN) in Mount Joy for several years and last October Northup met with Andy Albertini, vice president of Church Relations at GAiN, and asked about the non-profit’s clean water projects.
“We asked if we could start a campaign to raise money for their program because they are local and we’re familiar with them,” said Northup. “Water is just one aspect of what GAiN does.”
It just so happens water is a vital part of her husband’s work, as well. As head brewer at St. Boniface Craft Brewing Company, Jon Northup understands a good beer cannot be made without good water. Aside from nothing, water is the most important element in beer as it makes up 95 percent of a brew’s total ingredients. The connection between water for beer and water as a human necessity turned out to be the segue for Northup’s endeavor.
“Jon was like, ‘hey, why don’t I make a beer?’” said Northup and the Well Wisher India Pale Lager was conceived.
The special, one-off brew went on sale this week with more than 40 establishments pouring drafts. Locally, Well Wisher can be found at the St. Boniface brewery, Olde Lincoln House, and Bulls Head Public House. One dollar from each draft will go toward a $15,000 goal set by Northup to help build a well in Africa.
“$15,000 is the cost to drill a new well through (GAiN’s) program,” said Northup.
GAiN’s Albertini confirmed this amount; his organization is the humanitarian partner of Campus Crusade for Christ International, otherwise known as Cru.
“We work with Cru expressing the love of Christ in the toughest places on Earth. That’s our overall mandate,” said Albertini. “Sarah heard us talking about the work we do in Africa and the need for clean water and what a difference that can make to people there.”
Focusing on the areas of western, northern, eastern Africa; the Middle East; and Central Asia, GAiN builds wells where badly needed, but also brings education and training for equipment maintenance, agriculture instruction, and an overall better life.
“We deal with refugees in high-sensitivity areas,” said Albertini. “Right now, Africa is an area where we (are looking to construct) eight or 10 wells this year.”
In these affected areas, people walk up to seven kilometers on average just to access water, said Albertini. Most of the time the water is not clean and women and children make three trips each day.
“This keeps kids out of school. Families are sick because of the water’s (poor condition),” said Albertini. “When we look at our success stories we see families having gardens, children are in school … women are starting small businesses. We’re creating a situation where the dignity of these families is being restored.”
Check out this success story: GAiN’s video about Mtshabezi in Zimbabwe.
“We want to honor the work Sarah is doing,” said Albertini.
Outside of the area many notable beer destinations will be highlighting Well Wisher. Barley Mow, a popular draft house in North Reading, is holding a Saint Boniface tap takeover Thursday; the establishment will donate a dollar from every pint sold of any beer to the Well Wisher Campaign. In Lancaster County, 18 restaurants and bars will tap Well Wisher this week, including craft beer hot spots like McCleary’s Public House, The Railroad House Inn/Perry Street Cellar, Friendly Greek Bottle Shop, and The Fridge.
To donate directly to the Well Wisher Campaign visit gainusa.org/wellwisher/.
Did you know?
- Each day almost 1,000 children under the age of five die from diarrheal diseases caused by consuming contaminated water.
- Shortages of safe clean water, sanitation, and poor hygiene create the most significant source of suffering and disease on earth.
- The building of a well not only provides the community with water but also opens the opportunity for expanded sanitation and hygiene instruction and provides girls who usually spend much of their day collecting water with the opportunity to get an education.
Courtesy of GAiN visit: gainusa.org.