Water is a basic human need, but unfortunately, millions of people around the world don’t have access to clean or reliable sources.
In some areas, women and children spend hours every day searching for drinkable water instead of pursuing a business or getting an education. When James Leitner of New Jersey first learned about the issue, he knew he had to do something. So he began traveling thousands of miles to find a solution!
Three years ago, James founded the nonprofit MissionCleanWater, which builds sustainable water systems where they are needed most.
What sets the organization apart from many similar projects is that it gets local communities involved in every step of the way.
When it comes to fundraising efforts, James gets his hands — and feet — dirty. He has participated in multiple ultra-endurance events to raise the money and awareness they need to build wells.
In 2017, for example, he walked 3,250 miles while pulling 10 gallons of water to fund a clean hydration system in Tanzania!
Two years later, he ran 100 miles in 24 hours, completing a grand total of 130 laps on a .8-mile loop. Next, he ran a marathon every month for a year, carrying 45 pounds of water over his head each time.
Thanks to these events, MissionCleanWater has helped 4,500 people and 1,500 students! But James’ work is nowhere near finished.
This month, he’s running 30 miles for 30 days straight, aiming for a total of 900 miles! The goal is to raise $30,000 to give Elizabeth’s All-Girls School in Uganda clean water. He’s already raised nearly $20,000!
So far, he has logged over 630 miles. While the summer days are hot and grueling, he draws strength from focusing on the impact he’ll make.
“With all of the ups and downs, emotional highs and lows, sleepless nights, and mental exhaustion, once you see your work benefiting someone or a community, it’s all worth it,” he said.
It was not until I saw clean water flow from the taps, and not until I saw the community managing the system on their own, that I felt overwhelmed with emotion and teary-eyed with happiness.
You go, James! With every mile, you’re making an incredible difference for people in need! You can support the cause by joining his run virtually or donating here.
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