A church fundraiser to raise money for water wells in Haiti sparked the interest of a 100 Mile House family to start their own “Fire for Water” project.
James Nelson and his family are creating “1 Match Boxes” to contribute to the cause, initially started by their church, Cariboo Christian Life Fellowship, in 108 Mile Ranch.
His son Elias, 11, said the project “was originally to make money for us, but then we saw a bulletin that our church was raising money for wells in Haiti, so we thought all the proceeds should go there.”
Inside every box is everything needed to start a fire with a single match. The box includes paper, kindling, and a little bit of moss, but it also comes with a mini box of matches. A set of instructions, written by James’ wife, Jess, is also included. Nelson said the boxes are intended to be used for proper fires and regulated fire pits.
“The idea is that people buy the boxes, and proceeds would go to supporting wells in Haiti, drilling wells,” Nelson said. “The cost for one well is about US$4,000, and our church has a goal of $20,000 to drill four wells… Our goal is to raise $1,000. The main project is wells for Haiti, and then we kind of did our own little side project for the kids to raise money for that main project, which is in conjunction with an organization in Haiti that drills wells.”
He said the idea for the boxes was inspired by Kodi, 9.
“I found lots of this mossy green stuff. I was like, hey, this is a good fire starter, and so I kept putting it in bags and bags and I got 20 bags, and then my dad thought of the 1 Match Box,” Kodi said.
James said the project has been going pretty well, and they have received some positive messages. They have already raised $125, over 10 percent of their goal, and they only started a week ago. Elias said he got a boost after they received a donation of $100 for a box.
All proceeds from their sales go to wells for Haiti. People can take part in the project by purchasing a 1 Match Box by a donation of any amount.
This is not the Nelson family’s first fundraiser. In Grand Prairie, the family started a taco stand after they went to Mexico to build homes and had an idea to recreate the tacos down there.
“That kind of exploded in a really good way,” Nelson said. “One year our fundraiser wasn’t going so well, so we started a taco stand and garage sale in our front yard and did that for two weeks, and by the end of 10 years later, we had two storefronts and a food truck. COVID hit and things got really, really tough, and so we decided to move out here and slow down.”
Nelson said the Haiti fundraiser was a good idea because they don’t have clean drinking water from their tap on their property on Horse Lake Road.
“It struck a chord with us that we’re trying to drill a well and so we’re trying to help other people with the same idea, same problem. Fortunately for us, we can just drive to town and get clean water. Unfortunately for the Haitian people, their town is puddles of whatever water they can find around their village. It causes a lot of health problems and sickness, death.”
Kody added, “we know how much water is good for your body, and we want other people, other kids and parents to experience that too.”
Nelson plans to sell the boxes all summer or at least up until a fire ban. The family has a lot of product with which to make boxes as they have been clearing land. So far they have made 11 boxes and sold four, which James said is a slow start.
It takes the Nelson family about four hours to make 10 boxes, but Elias said, “we like that we’re helping other people and that we get to spend time with our dad making these boxes. It’s fun.”
“We’re hoping to reach the $1,000… and just see where it goes from there,” said Nelson. “The big dream would be it takes off, we have a plant somewhere, we’re making boxes for lots of different charities. That’s probably not going to happen, but you know that’s always a thought that you want to be able to, if it’s a good idea and it works, then we’ll keep doing it for as long as we can.”
To purchase a box, text James at 780-978-8093 or contact him through Facebook. They will also be selling the boxes at CCLF on Sundays in between services.
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