News / USA

US Restaurant Patrons Pay $1 for Normally-Free Tap Water

UNICEF project aims to bring clean water to children worldwide

Thousands of restaurants across the US are participating in the UNICEF Tap Project during World Water Week 2011 (March 20-26).
Thousands of restaurants across the US are participating in the UNICEF Tap Project during World Water Week 2011 (March 20-26).

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

Most restaurants in the United States offer their customers a glass of tap water at no charge with their meal, but this week many restaurants are asking diners to pay a dollar, or more , for a glass of water. Placards on their tables explain that this small amount helps bring clean water to children around the world. It’s called the UNICEF Tap Project.

The Tap Project has a simple goal.

"UNICEF’s Tap Project is really all about bringing attention to the fact that over 900 million people around the globe do not have access to good, clean, healthy drinking water," says Caryl Stern, who heads the US Fund for UNICEF. She adds that water-borne illness is the second-highest cause of preventable childhood death in the world.

"Each and every day approximately 4,100 children die just because they don’t have that access - 4,100 every single day."

The public service campaign encourages people to help change that statistic with a simple, affordable action: paying a dollar to get a glass of tap water at a restaurant.

"One dollar buys enough good, clean water for a child for 40 days," Stern says.

The tap project has expanded since it began five years ago with 300 restaurants in New York City. This year, Stern says, about 3,000 restaurants across the country are participating in the campaign.

Donating $1 for tap water that is normally free helps UNICEF provide lifesaving water and sanitation to kids around the world.
Donating $1 for tap water that is normally free helps UNICEF provide lifesaving water and sanitation to kids around the world.

"We raised about $2.5 million over the last five years of this campaign," says Stern. "Last year, we raised over $1 million for the first time. This year we’re hoping to top that."

Stern credits the continued success of the campaign to an army of volunteers who support the tap project and run fundraisers in their communities.

"In some communities, they are going just out to the restaurants making sure people support those restaurants," she says. "I’ve got a young girl who called me a couple of weeks ago who got involved. She went to see her school principal. She is a middle schooler. They have the entire school involved in what they call a water walk. The kids are going to carry a gallon of water all day. For every hour they carry it, they've got someone sponsoring that hour and they are collecting and raising money that way."

For the first time, the US Fund for UNICEF is also running a sweepstakes called "Celebrity Tap."

"We have UNICEF ambassador Selena Gomez along with Adrian Grenier, Dwight Howard from the NBA, singer Rihanna, country singer Taylor Swift and comedian Robin Williams. Each of them has filled a bottle with their own tap water from home and you can enter this sweepstakes to win one of those bottles," Stern says.

All the money raised by the tap project funds UNICEF's much-needed drinking water and sanitation projects around the world.

"In some cases we’re tanking water in," says Stern. "In some, we’re digging a well or a borehole. In others, we’re purifying a water source that’s already there. Even more, we’re educating people about what they need to know in order to assure that the water they are drinking is good, clean, healthy safe water. (We are in) 157 countries around the globe. And, particularly this year, we’re in Togo, the Central African Republic and Vietnam."

Providing clean drinking water is the first step towards creating a better life for people in these countries.

"Often times when there is not enough water, it not only has health implications, it has other life implications because the family will keep children home from school because someone has to walk for several hours to the river to get water to sustain life. So water not only improves health, it improves the opportunity for children to interrupt that cycle of poverty."

The UNICEF Tap Project is promoting its efforts with a simple motto: when you take water, give water. Stern hopes that, by participating in the project, more Americans will realize that what they often take for granted is a precious and scarce resource in many other parts of the world.  

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid