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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.