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H2O Telethon hopes to raise money, awareness

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We can’t live without water, but some folks around the Cape Fear struggle to get it every day. New Hanover County is trying to help. Help 2 Others is a new water assistance initiative by the county to help residents struggling to pay their water bills. The program is holding a telethon Saturday complete with live entertainment, games and food.

“Water is necessary to life,” New Hanover County resident Edward Sumpter said. “If you can’t pay for it or you don’t get it, what are you going to do?”

New Hanover County feels the same way. That’s why they started the H2O initiative.

“The idea was started in January after New Hanover County Commissioner Rick Catlin learned there were 500 households in New Hanover County that didn’t have running water or sewer services to their homes,” County spokesman Charles Smith said.

New Hanover County resident Lori Drake says she’s thankful she is able to pay her water bills but knows others are not as fortunate. She thinks the telethon is a great idea.

“They are probably working hard to pay the bills that they can, and the fact that that’s one that they can’t, and they might have kids,” Drake said.

We asked why not just lower water rates instead of raising money for those who can’t pay.

“The fee structures and rates decided by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is certainly to maintain the infrastructure and to take it where it needs to be tomorrow,” Smith explained.

In addition to raising money, the county hopes to raise awareness about the impact water has on health. From simple things like hand-washing to food preparation, water is necessary to keep things clean and sanitary.

“Bathing, brushing our teeth, taking care of our children. You know, being able to have water to drink, to cook with,” Drake said. “There are necessities in life that we need water for, and I can’t imagine not having it. Even just giving it to my dogs.”

“I think that’s great,” Sumpter said about the telethon. “People need help paying their bills, why not help them?”

The kickoff event is from 10a.m. to 5p.m. Saturday at the New Hanover County Government Center. For more information, visit givehelp2others.org.

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