This year, Maranatha Volunteers International raised more than $250,000 for the annual online fundraiser #GivingTuesday, breaking last year’s record by nearly $150,000. The funds will go toward providing water wells in Zambia.

This year’s campaign also included a challenge to go one full day without using house tap water. Called #NoTapTuesday, participants were encouraged to turn off their faucets and instead collect water from a neighbor’s house or purchase it from a store and share their experience on social media. Many commented how impactful the challenge was in showing how integral clean, accessible water is to us all.

‘Between the gifts and the participation in the #NoTapTuesday challenge, we’ve had a remarkable response from our supporters, and it’s an understatement to say Maranatha is blessed,’ said Julie Lee, vice president of marketing. ‘Now, we get to pass these blessings on to thousands of people in Zambia–people who have been praying for clean water.’

Zambia, a country in south-central Africa, has been one of the main focuses of Maranatha’s work in 2020. Despite challenges with COVID-19, Maranatha’s local teams have been able to continue working, safely, in rural areas. Along with One-Day Church and school classroom construction, crews have been providing water wells. In 2020 alone, Maranatha has drilled 208 wells in Zambia.

According to David Woods, Maranatha’s country director for Zambia, each well has the potential to serve 600 people or more. Additionally, the wells support community livestock, which is often the main source of income for families in rural Zambia, and farming.

Each water well is located at the site of a Seventh-day Adventist Church–either built by Maranatha or pre-existing. The wells, which are open to the public with no prerequisites for use, are meant to be a form of outreach to serve the local community. Adventist presence has significantly increased in the areas where Maranatha has provided a church and water well.

‘[Adventist leadership] shared that tribal chiefs and village headmen were reaching out to the Adventist Church, expressing their gratitude for the water program that Maranatha is helping to implement throughout the country,’ said Kyle Fiess, vice president of projects.

The #GivingTuesday movement was started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to escalating consumerism following the Thanksgiving holiday. The event, which takes place the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, encourages people to make a donation to their favorite charity. The online movement is largely promoted through social media.