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Providing life-giving water
Store, teen and charity team up to aid Kenyans
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Forsyth County News
Spending $10 for a bottle of water might seem a bit excessive. Unless, that is, you consider where the money's going.
A local gift and collectibles store has teamed up with a Forsyth County charity organization to bring clean drinking water to people in Kenya.
At the same time, a Central Forsyth High School student is doing his part to help diseased orphans in the East African country.
Beginning Friday, Parsons in Lakeland Plaza will donate all proceeds from the sale of water bottles, T-shirts and wristbands to Partners for Care, a local charity currently focusing its efforts in Kenya to provide the means for clean water.
Cris Willis, owner of Parsons, said "this keeps it very local."
"It's a blessing to be able to use Parsons in this way," Willis said, "to offer a way for our local customers to realize they can reach out and touch somebody's life in Africa."
Partners for Care Director Connie Cheren helped Willis organize the fundraiser. She said the lack of clean water "is the number one killer" in Kenya.
"You could eliminate 80 percent of the diseases in the world if you could just get clean water to the people," Cheren said.
"[Americans] know how to clean water. We've got it figured out. It's just a matter of getting that kind of information to people on the ground in Kenya."
Cheren also credits Christian Haygood, who will be a senior at Central this year, for his efforts in raising money for two orphaned children in Kenya who have AIDS.
Haygood has been to Kenya twice now, and he works part-time at Hobby Lobby to help African children with food and medicine. Haygood raises $90 a month for the children, who send him cards and letters to let him know how they're doing.
"One of the girls had sores on her face when I first started sending money," Haygood said, "but eventually the sores went away because she was able to afford to get help."
Haygood said visiting Kenya opened his eyes and made him want to help. "There's so much more out there that we don't have any idea about," he said. "We have everything so good here. It's all laid out for us, but some people are living every day without hope.
"It moves you to act, to become a revolutionary," Haygood said, "to try and change the world for the better."
Willis said she hopes Parsons can help in that department. "We're hoping to raise thousands of dollars for Partners for Care," she said.
Parsons has also teamed with accessory designers Brighton to raise money for Kenya. The company is marketing limited edition beaded Kazuri jewelry made in an impoverished community in Kenya.
Proceeds will go toward the shared clean water effort for the country.
The effort at Parsons runs from  through July 19. The store will sell water bottles for $10, wristbands for $5 and T-shirts for $20. Discounts are available with the purchase of any of these items.