- Associated Press - Saturday, January 23, 2016

PENTRESS, W.Va. (AP) - A sixth-grader in Monongalia County’s western end is busy helping communities half a world away.

Daphne Tennant, 12, has been collecting money to go toward building new water wells in Third World countries. She started collecting donations from friends and others in August and has raised $6,200. She and her mother, Tara Tennant, found a novel way to do it.

Six cases of 8-ounce water bottles (costing about $10 each) were purchased and distributed at Olive United Methodist Church, Blacksville Senior Center and in Wadestown.

After the water was consumed, donors kept the bottles and put in a dime every time they took a shower or got a glass of water. The bottles were returned to Daphne when full. Each bottle can hold about $50 in dimes.

“We wanted to do something that was inexpensive because this whole operation is centered around our dining room table,” Tara said, adding that she expected it to take a lot longer for Daphne to collect as much money as she has. “My husband and I joke that we don’t spend a dime anymore since we’re adding to our own bottle.”

Tara said Daphne also collected occasional donations from friends and the two also collected donations by starting their own website, which brought in nearly a third of the money.

Daphne said the spark that made her embark on this mission was a simple one that went a long way.

“I was in line for lunch with my friend Breanna Waggoner at our elementary school and a girl behind us said, ‘Hurry up, I’m starving!’ “Breanna turned around and told her that you shouldn’t say that since there are kids out there that are starving.”

Daphne said $5,000 she’s collected will go to build wells in Tanzania via Heifer International, an Arkansas-based nonprofit working to improve agriculture in other nations.

The money will also go to provide education to communities on how to efficiently collect and manage fresh-water supplies.

Daphne even got to go tour the ranch in Arkansas where Heifer International is to see where her donations were going. It was her first time traveling by plane.

Tara said she’ll begin filling out the paperwork to travel to Tanzania and see the wells when Daphne turns 15, something she described as one of her “all-time dreams.”

The $1,200 collected since December (all in dimes) will be used to set up wells in South America.

Daphne said she plans to send the dimes on a special day each month.

For example, she said the money will be sent on Groundhog Day in February in tribute to the film of the same name. She said it’s symbolic - just as Bill Murray was stuck in a time loop that went on and on, the collections and donations to build wells will go on and on.

Anyone wishing to donate can go online to missgreenhat.myevent.com.

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Information from: The Dominion Post, https://www.dominionpost.com

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