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Churches sponsor ‘Walk for Water’ awareness fundraiser April 30

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The worldwide water crisis seldom makes headlines even though it claims more lives each year than war. One out of four people drink from contaminated water sources. Unsafe water leads to illnesses that result in 840,000 deaths each year — all preventable — half of them children under age 5. The good news is there are many agencies who provide and advocate for clean, safe drinking water for those without it. One hunger and justice network is the “World Hunger Appeal” of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Local congregations — Zion Lutheran Church and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Cloquet and Salem Lutheran Church in Mahtowa — are sponsoring an awareness fundraiser, “Walk for Water” “Walk for Water” Sunday, April 30, featuring a 1.75-mile walk from Zion at 1000 Washington Ave., to Spafford Park’s boat landing, to help identify with those who walk every day for water.

There will be an 11:30 a.m. lunch at Zion (call 218-879-4647 in advance if you plan to have lunch). The walk, which begins at noon, will follow a route just east of Highway 33, arriving at Spafford Park around 1 p.m. and back to Zion around 2-2:30 p.m. Carrying an empty half-gallon or gallon jug there, participants will return to the church with the jugs filled with St. Louis River water. The public is encouraged to participate.

“We will be humbled knowing that young girls and boys carry back to their villages up to 40 pounds on their heads,” said Tom Anderson, one of the organizers of the event. “Having the luxury of clean Cloquet city water to drink, we may water the lawn or evergreens with the filled containers of river water.”

For those wishing to walk only a portion of the route, rides and arrangements will be provided. Call Zion at 218-879-4647 for more information.

Walkers are welcome to seek pledges for their journey or may choose to give a donation themselves. The initial goal was to raise at least $2,500 which will pay for the construction of a village well, “but we hope to raise considerably more,” added Anderson. They have already raised $1,175.