Sunday, March 1, 2009

Giving Back: Tap Project


Living where I do, I feel very blessed. I may complain from time to time about living in "poverty," (my husband is a full time student until next August) but in actuality I live a very privileged life. I never go without food, I have a warm, comfortable apartment, and as much clean water as I could want. I have struggled for a long time trying to come up with ways in which I can make the world a better place. I know there are so many people out there without the luxuries I enjoy, and I feel so strongly that it is my obligation to serve as much as I can. But knowing and feeling horrible that there are innocent children dying around the world from poor sanitation and nutrition is one thing; knowing what to do is another.

I have admired UNICEF for many years, and the work they do on behalf of children around the world. After I graduated from University I looked into getting a job with them, but you need at least a masters degree in order to qualify, and at this stage in my life I can't go back for more school. A little while ago I was surfing around the web and started reading some articles on the UNICEF website, and discovered that they have really great opportunities for volunteer work, and all kinds of support to get you started. From little things, like trick-or-treating for UNICEF (a great way to help your kids learn the value of giving back) to buying Christmas cards that benefit children . . . there are kits and pamphlets all online for you to find something that fits you.

This month is world water month, trying to raise awareness to the shortage of safe, clean drinking water. About 4,200 children die every day as a result of water related illness--all of which could be prevented. The Tap project was organized by UNICEF to raise money in order to provide sustainable wells for communities in need throughout the world, as well as educate teachers on proper sanitation practices. Restaurants partner with UNICEF to encourage their patrons to donate $1 for the water served at tables for free. With one dollar, UNICEF can provide one child with clean water for 40 days--which is so much.

There are several ways you can donate.
If you go to tapproject.org, you can look up restaurants in your area that are participating. Then, during water week go out to eat. Go with your family, or take a friend. Take your husband on a date! Then donate the dollar at your table.
If you are not inclined to eat out, or don't have the time/money--you can just text "TAP" to UNICEF (864233) to make a $5 donation.

If you want to be more involved, you can help recruit restaurants in your area. You have until March 8 to sign one up.

This project has made me more aware of what I can do, and at the very least more thankful for the basic necessities that I very often take forgranted. I hope the next time you go to the sink to rinse a dish or get a drink, you'll be thankful too.
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