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Brookfield church raises thousands for clean water in Mozambique

Alayna Meidam and Gavin Hirschmann stand next to a visual representation of the Brookfield Christian Reformed Church's accomplished mission in raising $75,000 for well equipment for people in Mozambique. The congregation was sitting at around $60,000 going into the final day, when nearly $40,000 was collected to put the total at well over their goal.

Alayna Meidam and Gavin Hirschmann stand next to a visual representation of the Brookfield Christian Reformed Church's accomplished mission in raising $75,000 for well equipment for people in Mozambique. The congregation was sitting at around $60,000 going into the final day, when nearly $40,000 was collected to put the total at well over their goal. Photo By Paula Coldagelli

July 1, 2014

Fresh water will soon be on its way to hundreds in need in Mozambique after a fundraising campaign far exceeded its goal on Sunday.

Brookfield Christian Reformed Church has, for the past three months, been striving to raise $75,000 in order to send well drilling equipment to the African country. They called the project "Dig Deep."

"We launched this generosity series in January. We just want to be more generous with our time, talents, and money as a congregation," Brookfield Christian Reformed Church Executive Director of Ministries Paula Coldagelli said. "The deacons wanted to launch a huge, audacious challenge."

Brookfield Christian Reformed Church has partnered with a ministry in Mozambique for nearly five years.

"We talked to them and asked what they really needed and they said clean water," Coldagelli said. "They said that they have to walk four miles to get clean water."

The congregation set to work raising funds to purchase the equipment needed to drill a new well.

Preliminary estimates said the equipment would cost about $75,000.

The church's goal was met and exceeded after an enormous amount came in on the final day of fundraising: $39,381.

"It was pretty amazing. I was blown away," Coldagelli said.

About $24,000 had been raised at the end of April. Another $11,000 had come in in May, and most of June brought in approximately $24,000 more. Heading into the final week of the campaign, funds totaled nearly $60,000, an impressive sum, but short of the goal.

"I think in our hearts, we all know that we would make the goal. We've tended to rally behind giving to good causes," Coldagelli said. "We knew a lot of people would be waiting until the last day."

The funds were accumulated through all manner of charitable avenues. Children ran rummage sales, a hairdresser in the congregation donated her tips for a month, and the church made grand, group gestures as well.

"On May 4, we did a water walk. We encouraged church members to walk and get a sense for how far people in Africa have to go for clean water," Coldagelli said. "It also let the neighbors in the community know what we were doing and I think it really rallied people to the cause."

Coldagelli was keen to note that the fundraising achievement must be credited not only to the church, but also to the entire community.

"It was great to see how much the community got behind the cause. People who aren't in the church and have never been involved with the church were making huge donations too," Coldagelli said.

Church officials are hopeful that Dig Deep will conclude with the well equipment in Mozambique by early 2015.

"We will likely purchase something in the next 45 days. We estimate that it would be in Mozambique in five to eight months," Dig Deep Project Manager Chad Huenink said.

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