Party With a Purpose

Party with a PurposeIn a small village in Africa at this very moment, there are 10 people drinking clean water from a well that was donated to them by a group of six-year-old children. They raised enough money at my daughter Angela’s birthday party, in one single day, to provide life-saving water for those precious people for the next 20 years.

A few months before Angela was to turn six, I read a book that explained all of the challenges that could be prevented if clean water was readily available in small villages. I learned that sometimes the only source of water is miles away, and it’s shared with animals and filled with deadly bacteria. Children are often sent to make the hours-long trek each day to get jugs of this dirty water for the family. Sometimes it’s only a gallon or two, and it’s all they have for the entire day. I learned that if clean water was simply available, those kids would not become sick and die, they’d have time to go to school, and even their medicines would work better. It seemed like such an easy problem to fix, and I knew my daughter would agree.

I explained the situation to her and asked if she would like to use her birthday party as a tool to raise money to help those children on the other side of the world. She decided that instead of receiving presents that would break in a short time, she wanted to make her birthday last. We opted to host a water science party, and incorporated as many experiments involving water that we could think of.

Our games included a water-jug relay race (to give the kids an idea of how heavy water can be) and the prize (to the kids’ surprise) was a bottle of dirty water. We explained that the dirty water was all the families had to use to cook their food, to bathe, and to feed their animals. We also explained that just $150 could provide clean water for 10 people for 20 years.  The 18 kids in attendance each donated between $5 and $10 and we met our goal.  We were even able to replicate the party on a much larger scale for a special family missions emphasis night at our church.

It all began with one single act of self-sacrifice by a six-year-old. She’s eight now, and has a huge heart for those less fortunate than herself.  I think it was one of the best life lessons she’s learned so far, and it started with just one purpose-filled party.

Would you like to host a water party of your own? Holly has provided a “Living Water Program Script” to get you started; it includes games, experiments, and more. You can adapt or supplement the water facts to reflect the water project you are supporting at your party. Find it here.

Pictures from Holly’s Party.

Invitation – sample


  1. 2 years ago
    Karen Tate says

    When you first published this story I shared it with a friend who has a daughter turning 7 in December. She wants to plan this type of party experience for her but will schedule it in January after the Christmas holidays and all the extra activities that brings. I am excited to help her get it organized so I can be a part of sharing this blessing with the children who will take part in this fun project that will help others in need.

  2. 2 years ago
    Solome says

    I come from Uganda in East Africa, so I appreciate the story very well. And, may God bless all those who have a heart to bless others who are less fortunate. Lack of water is indeed a major problem, so any efforts to provide a solution however small is most welcome.

  3. 2 years ago
    Heidi Lee says

    Holly, I’m not going to lie…I am all teary eyed after reading this article! What a GREAT party! Let Angela know that I am so proud of her and her tender heart.

  4. What a wonderful way to become the hands and feet of Jesus, turning birthday presents into pure cool drinking water. Wow! Isn’t that being just like Him? What a way to celebrate a life by enriching the lives others and easing their cries of “I thirst.”

  5. What a wonderful lesson and experience your party was for your daughter and her friends. I too have a passion for water projects and was fortunate enough to go on a short term mission trip to Malawi, Africa in 2009….for my 52nd birthday!! My prayer for your daughter and your family is that one day you will get to go to Africa and meet the people. My heart was, and is still, changed forever. My Church has been able to put in 6 (maybe 7) wells. At the time of my trip, the wells had been installed and I was able to label the 3rd well with our church sticker. May your spirit continue to grow and do God’s work……you have saved many lives…..God Bless you and your family… Melodee

    • Melodee, What a fantastic opportunity to go see your donation in action! I am so excited that you were able to meet the people you are serving. I admire your church’s efforts to do SO much for others, it’s truly inspiring. Yes, my daughter’s friends were impacted by the party, my friends all told me how their kids came home talking about Africa and the kids who have no clean water. These kids had no idea that every child in the world can’t just go to the sink and turn on drinkable water, and when they realized that, they were moved to help. Many of them did chores at home to raise their donation money before they came to the party.

  6. The invite didn’t print the location or how to RSVP as I wish to attend!

    Please resend the invite to me at

    Thank you!


    • Hi Tammy, the invitation was just a sample from my daughter’s party 2 years ago. Feel free to use the information to host your own party, however, and have a great time!

  7. 2 years ago
    Dawn says

    I would LOVE the details on who to contact to get this going… I am a Coordinator of a MOPS group and our theme this year is “Plunge” and it all revolves around water. This would be a wonderful outreach project for us!

    • Dawn, you can check out to get donor information and promotional materials. When I did my party two years ago, I pieced it all together myself. Now, it’s practically all done for you, so it makes it really easy! Your MOPS ladies will love this and it’s a really great opportunity to involve your kids at the same time.
      I got my supplies from the following places:
      color fizzies, test tubes and water jelly crystals (also called polymers- you need about 1/2 tsp per person)
      Kool-Aid Fizz: This item is being discontinued in stores, but we ordered it online from a retailer that still had it. You could also substitute another fizzy type drink for this experiment, like the product “fizzies” that can also be ordered online.
      Globe keychains and blow up globes:

  8. 2 years ago
    Vicky says

    I think our Ladies group at church would love to support this a a family party day this next summer! Could you please send me the information on the mission.
    Thanks & God Bless You!

  9. 2 years ago
    Sylvia says

    That is wonderful. I went on a Mission Trip with my church last October. It was a life changing event. We went to Nicaragua and dug a fresh water well with the help of Living Water International. This past Sunday I ran a half marathon and dedicated my race to Living Water International by raising funds for Team Living Water. So far I have raised almost $700 to go towards this great organization. What you and your sweet precious daughter are doing just touches my heart and makes me want to do more. God bless you!

  10. I’ve found water or wells at Samaritan’s Purse or World Vision – but not for $150 – they have a share for $100 or wells fro $400 to thousands of dollars.

    The rest of the information would be good – who or what organization can provide water or a well for $150?

  11. What a wonderful idea–I’m passing it along to our Education director for Sunday School plans! It just melted my heart. Thanks for passing it along, and I hope many others do this project.

  12. 2 years ago
    J Martens says

    Bravo! I wonder what book Holly read to Angela to get the ball rolling. Science teachers and missions lovers alike would appreciate this activity. Thank you, Holly.

  13. 2 years ago
    Robin Smith says

    I would like to donate the $150 at some point for providing water for the people in Africa. Is there any info you can give me so I know where to send the money? And to find out exactly what the money pays for and maybe get to see the final result. My family would love to do this and I have 4 children and this would be such a great learning experience for them. Thank you so much, God bless.

    • Robin, I love that you want to share this opportunity with your children! I have a personal relationship with the folks at, but you can choose any water charity that offers an opportunity for clean water to areas that have no options. We used our $150 donation to team up with a group of other donors to provide a $15,000 deep bore well. also has well drilling projects associated with their ministries. There are additional charities that provide water filters that also deliver clean water at a lesser cost. I know that many charities, including causelife/worldhelp offer opportunities for older children (age 8 and up) to travel with a team to areas where water projects are in service so they can experience what their donation is doing first hand. Our family is discussing a trip to Guatemala in the next few years to see a well project in action there. God Bless You!

      • This is a great idea Holly! OM Ships is one of the many organizations that provide, install and train communities with a simple water filter system as one part of our ministry. We’ve been able to install these for communities in many countries over the last couple of years through the ministry of our ship Logos Hope. The solution we use can be delivered to the ship, sent out with a team, installed and provide the basic use training for $100. You can find a bit more detail on our website at or get in touch with us at

        Jon Crowe
        OM Ships International

  14. 2 years ago
    Cynthia says

    I am going to tweek this idea and have a party with my girlfiends! I have no doubt it will be an eye-opening, heart-stretching night.