LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Murray Avenue School students, like Chloe Spingler, walked around the school during lunch carrying jugs of water on their heads for the second annual Kids For World Health (KFWH) Jug Walk on Tuesday.
KFWH is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that raises money and awareness for curable diseases that kill thousands in Third World countries because they can't afford the available treatments, according to the organization.
Founded in 2001, KFWH works with the World Health Organization (WHO) to identify where the most need is and raise funds for research, treatments and medical supplies, the organization said.
This year, the student-led group is focusing on chagas disease, a parasitic disease carried by beetle-like vectors that affects the heart, colon, and/or the intestinal tract. Chagas is most prevalent in Central America. Each student found people and/or businesses to sponsor them.
"Some of the supplies they need are easy for us to get, but it's not available for them," Spingler, 10, said.
Spingler's classmate Simi Nambiar had a special tie to the jug walk, since her mother would have to carry jugs of water long distances growing up in India.
"It's kind of cool because now I can feel what she felt," said Nambiar, whose mother Hema was the second youngest of six children.
After the fifth-graders walked, the 35 fourth-grade members of KFWH also walked during their lunch period.
"One of the reasons why we chose to do a jug walk is because in Africa and other countries water is often not nearby," according to a KFWH press release. "Children walk long distances carrying heavy water jugs for their families. Additionally, the water they carry is not usually clean. Many children get sick from drinking unsafe water or from getting bit by insects living by the water."
In preparation for Tuesday's walk, one fourth-grader, Alix Master, spent an hour Monday night and three hours Tuesday morning going around town asking for donations. By noon, she had collected $625.
"She is the most altruistic kid I know," said Master's mother Wendy.
Master believes everyone has a special gift, and wants to help those without the means to achieve it.
"Our saying is we want to make life important for all people, rich or poor," Master said.
Tax-exempt donations can be sent to PO Box 557, Larchmont, N.Y., 10538. For more information click here. Donations can also be brought to the Murray Avenue main office (checks can be made payable to Kids for World Health).