Jeff Crider has spent the past 20 years writing about camping and RVing across the United States and Canada, both as a freelance writer and as a publicist for the RV and campground industries.
But outside his career, Crider also has found another calling, volunteering as a Spanish language interpreter, photographer and publicist for IMAHelps, a California-based non-profit organization that organizes medical humanitarian missions to the poorest communities in Central and South America.
According to a press release, Crider also volunteers his writing services with Lifewater International, a non-profit that focuses on providing safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest communities.
In June of 2016, Crider and his 16-year-old son, Max, will be joining Lifewater International on a weeklong fundraising climb up 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro. Proceeds from the hike will be used to help pay for Lifewater’s installation of safe drinking water wells, latrines and hygiene education for several communities in Borena, Ethiopia, one of the poorest regions in the world.
“This is going to be the ultimate father-son hike, and the money we raise will be used to bring clean drinking water to impoverished villages in Ethiopia,” Crider said. “Each team has to raise $6,000 to participate in the Kilimanjaro climb, so Max and I are on the hook to raise that amount by June of 2016.”
A website called “Jeff and Max’s Climb Up Kilimanjaro” has been set up at https://give.lifewater.org/fundraise?fcid=479738 to facilitate donations.
“What’s really cool about this is that $6,000 is the amount of money it costs to install a drinking water well. So we know this money has a specific purpose and that it will save lives,” Crider said.
UNICEF estimates that 14% of Ethiopian children under 5-years-old die due to diarrheal diseases, most often as a result of unsafe drinking water, lack of sanitation facilities and poor hygiene.
“When I volunteer on medical missions in Latin America,” Crider said, “we often see patients with parasites, stomach cramps and other infections that are the direct result of unsafe water or poor sanitation and hygiene. But by focusing on providing safe water and educating the locals about the importance of proper sanitation and hygiene, Lifewater and its partners are reducing the spread of disease in Ethiopia and giving people a better quality of life.”
After they complete the Kilimanjaro hike, Crider and his son plan to visit the impoverished Borena region of southern Ethiopia, where Lifewater is working to provide safe water to 31,400 community members and school children as well as sanitation and hygiene education to 14,700 people.