World Water Day, a United Nations established holiday on March 22, is an opportunity for countries, cities and communities around the world to learn more about water related issues – from sanitation and access to job creation.
This day highlights an issue about which new Patriot Chris Long is passionate. In 2015, Chris launched his own initiative, Waterboys, to raise money and social awareness about clean water access in Tanzania. The money raised benefits WorldServe International, which provides large-scale community water systems by teaming up with local leaders in East Africa.
After a trip to Tanzania in 2013, Chris was impacted by the people and beauty of the country, but especially by the lack of access to clean water and the suffering that resulted.
"The country boasts vibrant and diverse cultures and languages. Its people are enchanting, yet nearly half its citizens don't have access to clean water," Chris said in a video on the Waterboys website. "Seeing it for myself, the women and children walking miles to collect dirty water riddled with disease, I couldn't walk away without doing something."
Chris teamed up with Doug Pitt, Goodwill Ambassador for Tanzania, and John Bongiorno, President of WorldServe International, to find a way to make a tangible difference in the country.
The Waterboys Initiative taps from willing NFL players to represent their teams in an effort to raise money for the cause. Aside from Chris, Danny Amendola represents the Patriots and has raised more than $10,000.
Chris said he wanted to use influence as a football player to help serve a greater purpose.
"In my line of work, digging deep and pushing past the pain is just part of the job, but for families who live here, digging deep is the only way to survive," Chris said. "I'm using the platform I've been afforded as a professional athlete to help provide clean water to people in critical need."
The "basic humanitarian right" to water is a necessity that many are denied, Chris said. The money raised by the Waterboys Initiative helps to dig wells in Tanzania communities, making clean water available to its people.
For more information about the Waterboys Initiative or to donate, visit the organization's website.