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According to the World Health Organization, 844 million people, and 31 percent of schools, don’t have clean water. An Austin church has partnered with a church in the suburbs to help provide some relief to those suffering from that international problem. 

Rev. Steve Epting, past of Hope Community Church, 5900 W. Iowa St., and Rev. Tim Hoekstra, who heads Suburban Life Community Church in Downers Grove, are rallying people from their churches and communities to participate in this year’s Global 6K for Water. 

“The 6K is just short of four miles, which is the average distance people in Africa must walk for clean water,” said Hoekstra during a recent interview. “We have people register for $50 and they each get a race bib with the picture of a child, because that $50 gives clean water to one person in Africa for their entire lifetime.” 

Hoekstra said that he and several churches in Austin started the event four years ago in collaboration with the international relief organization World Vision, which the pastor said is the largest NGO in the world currently providing clean water. 

“World Vision pools together the funds we donate, along with other funds, for a budget that is laid out for an area in a country,” Hoekstra explained. “So, let’s say we’re talking about Rwanda, which I’ve visited a couple of times.” 

Hoekstra said that World Vision employees in the country engage local leadership in building a 15-year plan that includes various elements, such as clean water, health, hygiene, safety and economic development, and then those World Vision workers exit the picture so that local leaders can sustainably preside over managing the area’s progress. 

This year’s 6K will take place on May 19 at Montrose Park. For the interested in registering for the event or simply donating funds for clean water access, visit: