Practicing Charity


“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” Maya Angelou

In this world of viral, flash-in-the-pan stories,  one in 2011 stood above the rest and has, for our family, been a defining moment in our home.

The story starts with a 9-year-old, Rachel Beckwith, who felt a burden for the billion people who don't have access to clean drinking water.   Rachel decided to ask people to skip giving her presents and instead donate $9.00 to Charity: Water.   This is the organization that funds freshwater development projects all over the world.  Rachel's goal was to raise $300, but by the time her birthday rolled around, she had only hit $200.  She told her mom she'd "do better" for her 10th birthday.

However, just a month later, Rachel was killed in a tragic car accident.

Rachel's selflessness was remembered and donations poured in from around the world.  Her fundraising page was overwhelmed and eventually closed with $1.2 million in donations.

Among the people who read Rachel's story and watched the videos, was our 9 year old daughter, Ellie.  I remember watching the video with Ellie as she cried for Rachel and for everyone who deals with dirty water that makes them sick.  I didn't have answers, but that didn't matter because Ellie knew exactly what she wanted to do -- she wanted to donate HER birthday.  So even though her birthday was 6 months away, she decided then and there to give up her 9th birthday.

Her goal was to raise $900 and she ended up with almost $1300.  I can't begin to describe the joy she felt in checking each donation and knowing that 64 people were going to have clean water because she skipped opening presents.

Billy and I were both encouraged and humbled by her enthusiasm.

This year, Ellie's turning 10 and her goal is to raise $1000.  She's half way there and thrilled by the generosity of family and friends.  If you'd like to be part of changing the world one well at a time, we'd LOVE to have you be part of the movement.  Please consider donating $10 for Ellie's 10 years.

The link is here:

Ellie's 10th Birthday for Charity Water

Come on!  Be part of something BIG, because water changes everything!

Rachel Beckwith's Mom Visits Ethiopia. from charity: water on Vimeo.