Amarillo non-profit organization building water wells to help end crisis in Uganda

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — More than 12,000 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water in Uganda, and an Amarillo non-profit organization is working to change that. 25:35 Water was formed in 2016, but founders Eric and Kimberly Matthews, drilled their first water well in Uganda in 2013.

“My husband and I were missionaries back in 2012 and 2013, and we also met our daughter there, who we adopted a few years later” she said. “We just have a heart for Uganda. After meeting the people there, after seeing the need there, and just having our daughter, we want to continue to give back to that country.”

Matthews said the name 25:35 Water derives from Matthew 25:35, when Jesus Christ said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” It doesn’t have to necessarily have anything to do with food or water, Matthews said, the mission is to meet a need when you see a need.

According to Matthews, to drill and install one water well costs $10,000. Crews have to survey the land, drill the land, lay concrete and equipment, etc. According to the 25:35 Water website, almost 9 million people in Uganda don’t have access to safe water. Often times in America, a simple resource like water is often taken for granted. After living in Uganda for several years and seeing the crisis first hand, Matthews said, has changed their lives. As a result, they want to do the same.

“Seeing people use the water that they have to use in these villages, that’s dirty, it’s disease-ridden, there’s trash in it, animals drinking from it. It changes how you think,” Eric Matthews said. “You cannot see that and go back to your life, the way that it was. It takes so little of our resources and what we have to make a life changing impact over there, and so it affects every decision we make, it affects our every day life here.”

This is the part where CrossFit 806 owner Kyle Cato comes in. Over time, and through conversations with another adoptive family of a Ugandan child, Cato came to hear about the water crisis in Uganda. He knew Eric was going on a trip, and he wanted to help. An email led to a dinner, and a dinner led to a plane ride. As a result of that trip, Cato came up with a fitness event to help raise money toward the cause. The workouts are called “Clean Water”. They’re three partner workouts that includes some sort of movement that’s a variation of a clean, for example, a power clean. Athletes in the competition use a dumbbell, kettle bell or barbell.

“Two of the workouts are fun, high energy, high intensity,” Cato said. “The last workout is how much weight can you lift from the ground to your shoulders. “The cool part is, people get donations per pound on what they lift. So, if grandma wants to sponsor you for a dime, and you lift 100 pounds, do the math. If you can lift 200 pounds, and one of your friends sponsors you with a quarter, do the math. That money added up to $20,000 two years ago, and last year, with that event, we made $40,000.” So far, CrossFit 806 has raised and donated enough funds for seven water wells. 100 percent of the money donated to the ministry goes towards building the wells.

In 2019, 25:35 Water had a goal of building three wells, they drilled 17. In 2020, they had a goal of drilling 20 wells in what Kimberly dubbed “20 for 2020”, and were able to drill 21 wells, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. So far in 2021, 25:35 Water has built five wells.

Since 2013, they’ve accomplished drilling 47 water wells in Uganda.

For more information on 25:35 Water, including how you can donate to their mission, visit their website, or email them at matthews@2535water.org.

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