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Water for the world
Student fundraiser for well in Africa
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Sam Lilley washes a car at his fundraiser event on Saturday. - photo by Photo by Katie McGurl

Zambia is a country of about 12 million people – more than 1 million of them suffering from AIDS. Water is scarce and sanitation poor in Ndola, a rural village where even local crops are contaminated by polluted water. Many children cannot attend school because they must spend hours each day gathering water from polluted sources many miles away from their homes. Active Water plans to build a well at the school that will allow villagers to access clean water and encourage children to attend classes.

On Saturday morning, the front lot of Coastal Community Christian Church was flooded with volunteers, cars, water and suds.

Two young church members held brightly-colored signs along Ford Avenue, beckoning passersby to the charity car wash.

Around back, locals waiting for their cars to be finished could pick through yard sale tables, buy an array of home-baked goods or even donate blood in The Blood Alliance’s bloodmobile.

Sam Lilley, a freshman at Richmond Hill High School, held the car wash and yard sale at the church – with the help of fellow parishioners and friends – to raise money to build a well in a remote African village.

“It's going real good right now,” Lilley said at the event. “There is literally a line of cars … and people have been buying a lot of stuff at the yard sale.”

Lilley’s goal is to raise $5,000 over the next few months. Proceeds from Saturday’s event yielded $1,065.

 “I felt really good about it because that's how much we were hoping to raise,” he said on Sunday. “I felt blessed and just really good about it.”

The aspiring actor plans on hosting more fundraising events like these to reach his goal. Coastal Community Christian Church, where he has worshiped for many years, has embraced Sam’s project and helped him along the way.

The money that Lilley is raising will go to Active Water for Zambia. Funds will be used by the organization to bring clean water to the remote Ndola region of that country.

Early on, Lilley sought the help of his church community.

“I got in front of the church and just talked about it and said how much it was needed,” he said. “It will put a well in Africa, but the thing is, the well will clean the water, too.”

Pastor Mark Snavely said the church is happy to help.

“When we learned Sam had taken on this project, we worked to help him kind of think through some of the details, but we tried to leave it up to him to take and run with the ball as much as possible,” he said. “It's encouraging to see young people take hold of a project like this.”

Lilley’s challenge comes from the Christ in Youth conference.

The conference, which he attended last June with friends from Coastal Community Christian Church, seeks to help high school students grow in their faith and urges them to get involved in mission projects around the world. Teens can choose a “challenge card” and commit themselves to completing the designated task within a year.

For more information on Sam Lilley’s project, or to donate, call the church at 756-3455 or visit

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