While Americans are sighing over sequesters and delayed flights, many forget the crisis that effects millions of needy people around the world on a daily basis due to the lack of water and sanitation. Fortunately a gentleman named Doc Hendley (a CNN Hero) has created Wine to Water, a non-profit (501 (c) 3) charity aid organization focused on providing clean water to people in need world wide.
Doc was inspired to help after working in Darfur installing water systems for the victims of the government supported genocide. As he explained it to us, “I was finishing up a degree and went away over Christmas break to my parents home in Boone, North Carolina. I woke up one night and had the term, ‘Wine to Water’ in my head, wrote it down and got chills. So I started doing searches on water crisis and water problems. When I googled I found that over 1 billion people in the world are effected by the water crisis; it effects more than HIV or any other disease. So instead of writing some cheesy country song I started writing out ideas on how to put these ideas into use. Six months after my first event I was on a plane to Darfur.”
A former musician and bartender, Doc’s first idea was to help people through organizing wine tasting fund raisers. They became so successful that people now host wine tasting benefits nationwide at their homes, schools and clubs to help the cause.
The money raised goes to all of Wine to Water’s clean water initiatives around the world. They use local materials and partner with people and organizations from each region in order to understand the lay of the land and needs of each area. For instance in Uganda they produce bio-sand water filters and rainwater harvesting systems with locally available materials. In Haiti they make ceramic water filters and in Cambodia the drills and pumps they use are made from parts available in the local market.
The organization has also recently began selling their own wines and approximately $7.00 from every bottle goes back to support the efforts. You can find a well curated assortment here to choose from.
Celebrated winemaker, Michel Rolland also stepped in just six month ago, donating $20 per bottle of his 2003 Bonne Nouvelle from Stellenbosch, South Africa directly to Wine to Water.
Also if you are in New York on May 9th, Wine Enthusiast is throwing one helluva 25th anniversary party at the Hudson Hotel. All ticket sales benefit Wine to Water. As Doc told us, “We were completely shocked they asked us to be involved since we are pretty small and grass roots. To get a phone call from someone so prestigious had me nearly fall out of my chair. We have some special news to unveil that night so buy your tickets!”
Besides his big unveil we asked where he is heading next. “We just added out 15th country, Syria. I was just there helping all the displaced people. They are our newest focus.”
So next time you need to order a case for a party or just to stock up the wine rack, consider ordering from Wine to Water and make a difference in the world while still getting pleasantly toasty.