Walking for Water

Benson and Hammond Rally the Troops


MAY 20, 2023

BAR HARBOR— “We’re walking!” Debbie Hammond calls out in a Facebook video, smiling as she and Bar Harbor Congregational Church’s Rob Benson stroll through a parking lot right outside the church on Mount Desert Street.

Walking wouldn’t ordinarily be newsworthy. But walking—and walking for a cause—is. The Global 6K for water happens right outside the church around 11 p.m. on Sunday, May 21.

Rob Benson and Deb Hammond from a screen grab from the Facebook video

The event is sponsored by World Vision, whose mission statement reads,

“Together, we empower the most vulnerable children to overcome poverty and experience fullness of life. We help children of all backgrounds, even in the most dangerous places, inspired by our Christian faith.

“Our presence in nearly 100 countries enables us to quickly provide immediate support in all types of disasters and humanitarian crises—and we are committed to long-term support, staying to help children, families, and communities recover and rebuild. In 2021 alone we responded to 72 disasters and humanitarian emergencies in 52 countries, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic in over 70 countries.”

The walk is going on all around the globe on Sunday. The MDI team has already raised more than $3,000, but can always raise more. Every year over 800 children who haven’t reached their fifth birthdays will die because of diarrhea, which is caused by either poor sanitation, improper hygiene or contaminated water.

image via BBC

The BBC lists the United States as having adequate water. Canada, above us, has a surplus. Pollution via sewage and other contaminants, climate, geology, poverty, politics, over-abstraction, and limited infrastructure can all create water shortages. Locally, MDI High School is currently trying to deal with a situation with forever chemicals (PFAS) at the site, contaminated drinking water has now been filtered. The school is also making decisions about its wastewater removal system. A neighbor’s well was also contaminated with PFAS.

The average distance that so many women and so many children around the world have to walk to reach water is 3.7 miles or 6 kilometers. Every $50 raised gives clean water to a human in need. World Vision, with help and donations from walkers like Hammond, Benson, and others on MDI, will “reach one new person with clean water every 10 seconds,” World Vision’s website states. Since 2020, the group has given clean water to 3.4 million humans who need it. Pipelines built bring water to areas where people used to have to walk that 3.7 miles.

Marcus Sauelsson once said, “For many of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it.”

On Sunday so many people from MDI might not be pausing, but walking, but they’ll also be considering water throughout the world, and each footstep will be making a difference, making the world a tiny bit better.

There is still time to join and walk or roll or stroll and also to donate. You can support MDI Walkers here.  

To watch Benson and Hammond’s video, click here.

To read the BBC article, click here.

Our story about PFAS at the high school.

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