Almost 1 billion people — about one-seventh of the world's population — lack access to clean water. And over the next 20 years, this problem is only expected to grow. It seems so huge ... a billion people! How do you even start tackling such an issue?
One well at a time.
That's what bartender Doc Hendley outlines in his new book, "Wine to Water: A Bartender's Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World." But long before the book, or the organization he founded were a reality, Hendley was bartending and playing music in nightclubs around Raleigh, N.C. And he thought there was a way to take the fun of wine tastings and combine it with philanthropy. "Wine symbolizes fortune in our society. Our goal is to give the fortunate population an opportunity to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves," says Hendley on his site.
In January of 2004, the first fundraiser was held, and only six months later, Hendley found himself in war-torn Darfur, installing wells.
He kept building the organization (working two jobs and volunteering his time) and in 2007 Wine to Water became an official nonprofit. "When the idea came to me to start Wine To Water, the only real-world job experience I had was tending bar. I dreamed of building an organization that fought water-related death and disease using completely different methods than anyone else. So I started raising money to fight this water epidemic the best way I knew how, by pouring wine and playing music."
Hendley's organization, Wine to Water, now has several full-time employees and installs wells (or rehabs wells, or installs water transportation systems, or whatever is needed locally) throughout Africa, Cambodia, India and many other countries.
It's easy to get involved. Of course you can always donate, but you can also host an event, and the organization will give you all the tools you need to make your party a success. Or read the book and get inspired. Henley proves that anyone can make a difference in the world water crisis.