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Jars of Clay
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CULTURAL NEWS
Jars of Clay's Blood: Water Mission Receives Holiday Gift for Africa
27 December 2005

Robert Thompson knows what it’s like to be without the basic necessities. Two years ago, struggling to establish a foothold in a new industry, the former Hollywood studio owner accepted Christmas gifts for his family from Catholic Charities while members of his Nashville area church paid the rent on his modest home. Today, as owner of a thriving purveyor of international trade and company information, he wants to give back by helping Blood:Water Mission build wells to provide urgently needed clean drinking water throughout Africa. The non-profit International Trade Foundation (ITF), which his company funds, will match contributions to Blood:Water Mission up to $25,000 through December, halving the cost of clean drinking water to a mere 50 cents per person per year.

Most people in the U.S. can get cleaner water from the ponds where they fish than many Africans can get from the contaminated wells and streams that often are their only sources of water. Retrieving enough water for the needs of a typical family requires more than 200 million hours each year across Africa, keeping female children out of school and adults from income-producing work. Worse, the only water within walking distance often teems with parasites and bacteria that decimate the health of both otherwise healthy Africans and the nearly 26 million Africans infected by HIV. Not infrequently, exposure to the microbes in polluted water hastens the onset of AIDS in infected persons, with death following soon after. Last year 2.4 million women, men and children died from AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and 13 million children are orphans following their parents’ death from AIDS.

Seeing this entirely preventable daily tragedy during a 2002 visit to Africa led Dan Haseltine, lead singer for Christian band Jars of Clay, and fellow band members to establish Blood:Water Mission to build clean wells throughout Africa and to provide other humanitarian support to ease suffering and poverty there.

“About 80 percent of deaths in developing countries are water-related, but they can be virtually eliminated with the provision of clean water,” says Haseltine. “Blood:Water Mission can build wells at a cost of roughly $3000 each, providing clean water for approximately one dollar per person per year. With all donations matched through December by the ITF, that cost will be reduced to a mere 50 cents per person.”

In announcing the matching funds initiative, Thompson said, “Our hope is to multiply not just contributions but ongoing interest in Blood:Water Mission’s lifesaving work. To think that a single dollar can produce a tangible improvement in someone’s health and ability to provide for their families is sobering but also extremely exciting.”

Haseltine added, "There are so many things that the Christmas season symbolizes; one of the greatest is hope. When a company like CenTradeX comes along with such a generous offer, it does more than just boost public desire to give or offer leadership to other businesses to emulate. In this case, it translates into tangible resources that bring people in Africa tools for survival, and there is nothing more exciting to me. It has been our privilege to see hope grow in places where there once was none."

Blood:Water Mission, a registered 501(c)3 organization, is committed to clean blood and clean water to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to build clean wells in Africa, to support medical facilities to care for the sick, and to make a lasting impact in the fight against poverty, injustice and oppression in Africa. In 2005, Blood:Water Mission supplied hope in the form of clean water to more than 120,000 Africans.

For more information and to donate to the matching funds campaign, visit www.BloodWaterMission.com All contributions are tax-deductible. Contributions made by December 31, 2005 will be matched at 100% up to $25,000.

For more information about the International Trade Foundation, a non-profit outreach funded by CenTradeX to benefit people in need around the world, visit www.CenTradeX.com

Multi-Platinum and three time GRAMMY Award winning band Jars of Clay launched its career with its hit, “Flood,” in 1995. Since then, it’s amassed more than five million in career sales along with several RIAA certifications (5 Gold, 2 Platinum and 1 Double Platinum) an American Music Award nod, 17 No.1 radio hits, and numerous film credits and BMI honors for songwriting and performing. Most recently, Jars of Clay was invited to participate in the world’s most impactful concert event, Live 8, where they performed before a live audience in Philadelphia of more than 1 million people while the event was broadcast to an estimated 3 billion worldwide.

While celebrated for its music and writing, Jars of Clay is most concerned with the needs in Africa. Compelled to make a difference, members Dan Haseltine, Stephen Mason, Matt Odmark and Charlie Lowell founded the Blood:Water Mission in early 2002. The first effort of this non-profit was the “1000 Wells Project” with a goal of raising funds to build, rebuild and repair 1000 wells in urban and rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. To date, 42 wells have been constructed bringing clean water to more than 34,000 people.


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