September 27, 2020

BY RYAN GOODYEAR

According to Water.org, 3.4 million people die every year from a water-related disease and 780 million people lack access to clean water. That’s more than two and a half times the population of the United States. Despite the enormity of the problem, a local church is taking a stand and raising money to help end the world’s water crisis.

In addition to the Living Water Project, they are supporting the International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.

Over Christmas, Sam Dlugokecki, a local musician and a member of Hazelglen Alliance Church, along with friends from the local LifeSpring Christian Fellowship Church, including Pastor Shane Pickel, became fed up with how consumerism had engulfed the holidays.

To counteract that, they decided to do small things throughout January, such as giving up creature comforts like coffee and TV for 21 days. They estimated the price of what they were cutting out, and then donated the money, along with other donations, to the two organizations.

In an attempt to reach out to those not involved in the church community, Dlugokecki and the congregation decided to hold a music and arts night at the local Little Bean Coffee Bar on Jan. 26. Dlugokecki was responsible for booking the local talent and managing the sound system.

“In an effort to bridge the gap that often exists between individuals who are socially conscious and desire change in the world, but are not necessarily involved in the church community, an idea was raised to promote local artists of all types, visual, performance and music, to come join this event and help raise funds,” Dlugokecki said.

The night of the event there was not a single empty seat left in the house. People gathered around the bar, pool tables and even sat on the floor, all eagerly awaiting the local acts.

The first on stage was Meggi Faye with her acoustic guitar, singing both original and cover songs. She was followed shortly after by another local musician, Ben Malleck, who fused refreshing sounds of acoustic guitar, spoken word and even rap into his performance. However, the event was no one trick pony, the talent ranged from solo acts with guitars to spoken word, poetry and even full bands.

Visual art was also generously donated by local artist Kandace Boos, and was auctioned off at intervals throughout the night.

In the end the event raised $1,350 for the cause.

“I am very pleased and humbled with how well the event went,” Dlugokecki said.

“Truly compassion and love for others is something that is prevalent throughout this community, and I am blessed to know that people are eager to do what they are able to do to help out,” he said.