Safe drinking water isn’t just a third-world issue. According to Watercookies Inc., it’s an issue in communities across the U.S. as well. The group, whose mission is to educate young families about clean drinking water, was granted federal nonprofit status in 2013.
Helen Donelan Price launched the organization in 2011 after learning about the surprising lack of clean drinking water in a number of communities.
“While we as a nation want to support other countries, I wanted to raise awareness in our country, in our states, about the value of clean and safe water,” Price said. “Two things are for sure: Our children and grandchildren will grow up and clean water will become a larger issue for the next generation. Why not build the interest about why water is so important while they are young, and reward them for doing so?'
That is where Watercookies comes in. The Watercookies Project was designed to be a way to garner curiosity and interest.
Outreach to the community starts this May with activity coloring pages geared to elementary schools students. These pages share environmental reasons why Hilton Head Island’s wildlife is so important. With invitations and deals from local businesses included, these pages will be distributed to hotels, restaurants and environmental kids clubs to get the word out. Once the kids color the pages and enjoy the activities at local outfitters, they get rewarded with a free cookie at the local Fresh Market and Kroger stores.
“Learning about water can be fun, rewarding and instill in young minds that they can make a difference by learning. Our goal is to plant the seeds of knowledge, nurture that seed and then provide those kids who continue to be interested in environmental issues with scholarships from the Watercookie Foundation when they go into higher education after high school,” Price said. “It is easy, and it’s a win-win. Kids learn, they are rewarded with a cookie, and who doesn’t like cookies? The big takeaway? Our island, our community and our millions of visitors have the chance to make a difference, one cookie at a time.”
While education is key to the Watercookie Project, there are several other projects in the works for Hilton Head Island and Beaufort County this year. Since 2013, community events have shared the group’s mission: Educating our children and grandchildren about the value of clean and safe water in America, while providing scholarships for high school seniors who want to study environmental sciences at college. “The Friends of Waddell annual event, Earth Day celebrations and The Outside Foundation share our passion, and we build interest and strength when we work together,” Price said.
The group’s new campaign, No Water No Beer, is coming up later this spring. Focusing on farm-to-table restaurants, the goal is to invite visitors to eat at participating establishments.
“We are in the middle of creating outreach materials that will be handed out by our sponsors, hotel concierges and retail stores,” Price said. “Watch for the Watercookie car in the St. Patrick’s Day parade this year. It is our first year in the parade, and we hope to make it bigger every year. This year, our dolphin will be waving to you.”
The program kickoff party is set for later this month at Sonesta Resort. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or Janet@janetturleyhiltonhead.com or go online to www.watercookies.org.