While Californians reel over brown lawns and shortened showers, a much bigger water crisis persists around the world.
Seeking an end to the global water crisis, 21-year-old Azusa Pacific University alumna and Glendora resident Kimberly Golden along with a group of fellow graduates have taken to the road on a combined 6,350-mile charity bike ride to raise $80,000 for the organization Ride For Water.
The current monetary goal would bring clean drinking water to 2,666 people world wide. So far, the teams have raised more than $36,000.
The men’s and women’s teams began their journey in the middle of May–the men from Seattle, Washington and the women from Florence, Oregon–both culminating their cross-country rides over 50 days at the New York headquarters for the organization Charity: Water.
Starting today, the women’s team will have left Yellowstone National Park, having completed 813 miles in about two weeks. The men’s team will have biked through Montana, Golden said.
The men’s and women’s team boasts people from many diverse backgrounds. Most come from across the country, some from around the world. Their common goal is to bring clean water to developing nations.
“I think that the main common denominator that brings us all together is our passion and drive, something that I feel Azusa Pacific University ignited in all of us, and we all felt the call to be a part of this campaign that is so much bigger than ourselves,” Golden said. “Clean water is something that is an essential human right, and we wanted to do something to make a difference.”
The men’s and women’s teams began fundraising and accepting donations from the community as far back as 2015. Most of the donations have come from online, while complete strangers have donated to the teams along the bike ride.
Golden was born and raised in Glendora, having attended St. Lucy’s Priory High School before enrolling at Azusa Pacific.
This is the fourth year for the Ride For Water Campaign and the first to feature a women’s team, which was co-created by Golden and fellow APU grad Sophia Buie.
While a freshmen in 2013, Golden saw signs for Ride For Water across the APU campus and noticing there were only men taking part, Golden and Buie set out to start a women’s team.
“Four years later, our dream somehow became a reality and we still can’t believe this is real,” Golden said.
The last three teams raised over $128,000 towards clean water in developing nations.
Helping fuel Golden’s determination to contribute was a study abroad trip to South Africa in 2013, where she and Buie worked on a farm in Haniville. The wrath of the AIDS epidemic and the low quality of life spurred by the lack of clean water ignited a determination in Golden to help any way she could.
“Although the drought is severe, the water crisis in developing countries is so much more detrimental to human lives than the drought we are witnessing in California. Even with the drought here in California, residents still have access to a clean shower, clean drinking water and even clean toilet water,” Golden said.
Golden hopes that the ideas and goals of providing clean water across the globe will spark action in people.
“If more water projects were funded, such as those supported by Charity: Water, women and children would be able to be mothers, teachers, students, and live normal lives that do not revolve solely on retrieving water,” Golden said.
The teams expect to arrive in New York by July 4.
For more information and to donate, visit rideforwater.com.