Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Texas Restaurants Partner with UNICEF to Provide Safe, Clean Drinking Water to Children Around the World

By Shannon Prudhomme
Contributor, Gulf Coast Philanthropy
It is said that everything is bigger in Texas, and this includes the immense philanthropic spirit of businesses throughout the Lone Star State. This year UNICEF – the United Nation’s Fund for Children – selected Houston as one of only five enhanced markets to implement its award-winning Tap Project. The result: several volunteers throughout the entire state have stepped up to register restaurants for this signature campaign to raise funds that will be used to support the UNICEF Tap Project.

“This project is an easy and efficient way for these businesses to help make a difference,” said Beaumont-based volunteer Candace Carver.

She said the Tap Project’s focus on water access and safety hits close to home for her. “In Southeast Texas, specifically, we know what hardships can be and we should know by now not to take our resources for granted.”

Texas joins thousands of restaurants, dining patrons, students and corporations, community, celebrity and government supporters nationwide. During World Water Week, which is March 19 to 25, these restaurants will participate in the UNICEF Tap Project, which is an annual nationwide campaign to provide clean water to children around the world. Patrons of participating restaurants are invited to donate $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free. The water programs supported by these fundraising efforts aim to reduce the number of children at risk of waterborne illnesses; the second highest cause of preventable childhood deaths globally – killing more than 4,100 children every day.

Photo courtesy of UNICEF
The list of participating restaurants in Houston and throughout the state will be featured on the official campaign website for public viewing, as well as receive coverage from a nationwide marketing campaign that includes strategic partners like online dining sites ZAGAT, OpenTable, SeamlessWeb, and Yelp.

Native Houstonian Miko Tsubai is volunteering to recruit and register restaurants in Houston, and said this campaign will allow the community to gain a higher level of recognition for the city.“We are not often counted among the upper echelon of U.S. cities,” she said.

“This is the first time that Houston gets to be a major city for the Tap Project. Local restaurants that participate can take pride in the fact that they are participating in such a momentous event, and camaraderie will be created among the staff because they will feel like they are doing something great together.” 

The concept of the Tap Project is basic and compelling: “When You Take Water, Give Water.”

Since its inception in 2007, the UNICEF Tap Project has raised more than $3 million in the United States and has provided clean water to children all around the world. UNICEF works in more than 100 countries to improve access to safe water and sanitation in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices. Over the past 16 years, more than a billion people have gained access to improved drinking water and sanitation facilities thanks to the efforts of UNICEF and its partners. 

In 2011 alone, nearly 700 restaurants and more than 2,200 volunteers from all 50 states participated in the national campaign, making it the largest volunteer mobilization effort for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Funds raised through the 2012 UNICEF Tap Project will provide children with clean drinking water in Viet Nam, Togo, Mauritania and Cameroon. 

For volunteers like Miko, the ability to illustrate that everyday citizens can support global philanthropic efforts is what motivates her to volunteer for this campaign.

“The Tap Project is a way to bring people from all walks of life together to enjoy a good meal and unite for a cause,” she said. “It asks us all to remember to not take easy access to water for granted, and to raise our glasses to fill hundreds more.”

If you are a Restaurant Manager or Owner, you can register your restaurant by visiting or e-mailing for more information. 


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