West Siders walking, running for clean water

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West Side residents are being encouraged to participate this weekend in a global effort to provide clean water around the world.

A virtual Global 6K for Water, set for this Saturday, is being organized by World Vision, an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid, development and advocacy group that has an office in Austin.

“What a beautiful thing for us to do,” Rev. Tim Hoefstra said at a recent meeting of the 15th Police District faith-based leaders, where he asked people to sign up for the West Side Chicago team that’s hoping to raise $1,000.

The length of the walk/run – 3.7 miles – is the average distance people have to walk in Africa to get water, and they do it more than once a day and it’s not even clean water, said Hoefstra, who works as a recruiter/coach for Team World Vision Chicago.

The event will be virtual for a second year in a row because of the pandemic. Last year, the West Side team was planning to start the run/walk from the 15th District headquarters, but then COVID-19 hit, Hoefstra said.

“We’re not going to gather this year … the plan is for us to run wherever we can,” said Hoefstra, who plans to complete his 3.7 miles with several family members.

Austin residents and church members have been taking part in the event for several years, including members of his church, said Rev. Steve Epting, senior pastor at Hope Community Church.

Two teams totally about 70 people from Austin participated in the last in-person event held at Montrose Harbor in spring 2019, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“People around the world will be participating. … What a beautiful thing for us to do,” Hoefstra said. “We’re building a rhythm in the Austin community when we will do this in May and the Austin 5K in September.”

Registration costs $50 for adults and $25 for children, and includes a T-shirt, finisher’s medal and a race bib with the picture of a child for whom participants will be walking or running.

Fifty dollars guarantees water for nearly the lifetime of a child in countries in which World Vision operates, Hoefstra said. “A drop in the bucket like that will change lives. You can change another part of the world” and help children living in deep poverty.

To register for Saturday’s event and be a part of the West Side team, click here.

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