Utahns host charity auction for Ukraine

HEBER CITY, Utah- On Monday at Summerhouse Farms, over 200 people attended the Water for Life Charity gala, with all proceeds going to help provide clean drinking water to the people of Ukraine. The event was a fundraiser for the Water for Life Charity, which is based out of Midway.

James Brown, the founder and president of Water for Life Charity, started the 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2017, and his organization drills wells and supplies water filters to countries that lack clean and safe drinking water. The volunteer based organization  recently co-designed and patented a pre-filter with a team of BYU engineering students. 

Water for Life Charity has sent filters to countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South America. This is the first time they have sent filters to Europe, as the war in Ukraine has disrupted many things, including access to clean drinking water for thousands of people. 

Water for Life Filter Photo: Will Scadden

Brown demonstrated the actual filtering process, which is incredibly simple. Water for Life provides all materials needed, and the actual filter has two parts. The first is a pre-filter, which essentially acts as a coffee filter. The pre-filter is placed on top of a bucket, and water is poured into it. The pre-filter is made of a fine nylon mesh that takes out all sediment in the water as it passes through.

The second part is the bacteria filter, which removes 99.99% of diseases from contaminated water. The bacteria filter is installed in the bottom of a bucket, and water that has passed through the pre-filter will eventually flow through the bacteria filter. The bacteria filter is made of a micron absolute hollow fiber membrane. Similar technology is used when filtering blood during kidney dialysis.

Brown said he hoped to raise $75,000 at the auction, which would cover the manufacturing cost of 1,500 filters. Water for Life has already sent 250 filters to Ukraine and has a goal to send 2000-3000 filters in total. All proceeds from the auction go towards providing filters for the people in Ukraine. Items being auctioned off included paintings by local artists, as well as a few pieces by Ukrainian artists.

After dinner, a few guest speakers were brought out, including Solomon Smith, founder of Backroads Foundation; and Alex Miroscichenko, a refugee who fled Ukraine and the ongoing war.

The Backroads Foundation is partnered with Water for Life, and they specialize in delivering supplies and resources to communities that are typically inaccessible due to war and conflict. Smith, a U.S military veteran, spent 4 weeks in Ukraine establishing connections and access to logistical networks. Backroads deliver medical supplies, water filters, and food to sustain communities, and extract women and children on the way back. 

Ukrainian Artists Alyona Balser and Lana Miroshnichenko next to their paintings Photo: Lindsey Leavitt
Ukrainian Artists Alyona Balser and Lana Miroshnichenko next to their paintings. Photo: Lindsey Leavitt

“Being here is a demonstration of people who care for people that are in need,” Smith said in his speech, “Half of the work we do is not physical, but providing people with the emotional and spiritual support that they need.” 

Next, Alex Miroscichenko delivered a speech to the already emotional crowd. Miroscichenko is from Ukraine, earned his Master’s degree there, and founded several successful small businesses before leaving his home country due to the war. He arrived in Utah on Memorial Day, after weeks of traveling throughout Europe trying to find asylum. 

“February 24th three rockets came near our home and bring death,” Miroscichenko said, “I remember before war I used to come home from work tired, now, after, I am never tired. I am never tired to spend time with my family and friends because I almost couldn’t do that anymore.” 

“Thank all of you. It is amazing to see people from thousands of miles away are thinking of us… I can talk about heartbreaks we have suffered for hours. But I want to say thank you, for your support and kind hearts. It is very important to us right now. God bless you, God bless America, and God bless Ukraine.” Miroscichenko’s speech ended with a standing ovation by the attendees.

If interested in donating or volunteering to the Water for Life Charity click here or the Backroads foundation, click here. 

The Water for Life Charity is also partnered with forPeace and Roam Humanitarian charities in their Ukrainian relief efforts.

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