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Northminster's Mission Committee is hosting its seventh shoe drive benefiting WaterStep, a non-profit organization that works to bring water purifiers to regions of the world that do not have access to clean water and provides safe water solutions to areas impacted by disasters.

Thank you, Clark County! During Northminster Presbyterian Church’s 7th annual WaterStep shoe drive, 8,491 pounds of shoes were donated. Restoration Park Church in Medway was our largest single contributor. WaterStep uses training and technology to provide clean safe water to people in developing countries and disaster areas. These shoes will be sold to an exporter and will raise enough to fund almost three water purifiers. The first truckload of shoes was picked up on Saturday, September 5th.

Loading the truck were, from left to right, Sam Henze, Charlie Henze, Olivia Henze, Selah Henze, Bob Triebelhorn, Emily Aldinger, Gary Molnar, Denise Molnar, Nancy Baker, Susan Dersch and Kevin Creager.

Northminster has collected more than 29,000 lbs of shoes in the last six years. Let's see how many more pounds we can collect. Please spread the word to your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers.

So how do your unwanted shoes save lives?

Shoes that are donated are given to WaterStep, and they sell the shoes to an exporter. (Walking/running/tennis shoes sell for more than other types of shoes.) The exporter then sells the shoes to small vendors in third world countries who sell them locally. WaterStep is thus contributing to micro-enterprise ventures that benefit the economy.

Access to water is one of the biggest problems that humanity faces.  Today, more than 663 million people live without safe water. That's 1 in 10 people on the planet. The problem is a deadly one. Children are the most vulnerable; a child dies every 60 seconds from diarrheal diseases. Dying from unsafe water is common, but even more people are living with it. Sickness from dirty water and the time spent collecting it takes its toll. The burden of water collection traditionally falls on women and children – 71% of water collection in Africa is done by women and girls. Once the water is collected, it might not even be safe to drink. If you spend hours a day carrying water for your family, or have to stay home because you’re sick with diarrhea, you cannot go to school, learn a skill, or take care of your family. You can’t work for a better life.

While the problem is huge, the solutions are simple. Using simple tools and effective training, an empowered community can learn to take care of its own water for generations. WaterStep equips people around the world with the tools, technology and training to provide safe water in their own communities. Since 1995, WaterStep has worked in more than 40 countries, and currently has 96 active projects worldwide. Clean water is the first step to achieving health, getting an education, and learning work skills. Water can transform a community.

Please visit their website for more information on the important work that they do.