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Chapin Living Waters Foundation looking for volunteers

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The last batch of irrigation bucket kits from Chapin Living Waters Foundation was sent to Haiti.

The next batch may be sent to Kenya.

To reduce the cost of producing bucket kits that use irrigation methods invented in Watertown, the North Colorado Avenue foundation is searching for more volunteers.

Foundation President William A. Chapin said using volunteers means more bucket kits will be available for donation.

“Before, it was done at the plant with paid labor,” he said. “It really increased the cost considerably. For the same dollars, we can distribute more and help more people.”

Volunteer Douglas L. Carlson said there is a list of 50 volunteers at the moment, but he hopes to double that number.

“We can always use more volunteers or organizations that would be interested in helping,” he said. “We want to have a pretty good-sized pool of people that we can draw from.”

The drip irrigation system was invented by Mr. Chapin’s father, Richard D. Chapin. Chapin Watermatics Inc. was founded in 1960.

“He was in the business of growing flowers, and he developed the irrigation system,” Mr. Chapin said. “Dad’s always been interested in helping people use irrigation.”

Chapin Watermatics Inc. was bought by Jain Irrigation in 2006. That has not slowed the Chapin Living Waters Foundation, however.

Today, the foundation has partnerships with organizations in 100 countries to help people in the Third World become self-sufficient.

“When I was in Malawi, they had villages with 10 or 12 families who had eight or 12 kits they would put in as a group,” Mr. Carlson said.

He said the families split up tasks to take care of the seedlings, weed the garden and harvest the crops.

“When they harvested the crops, they would share the crops,” he said. “The extras they would sell at the markets.”

The money they received at the market went toward buying more seedlings, clothing, school tuition and supplies.

M. Gail Goings, Watertown, and her husband, David E. Goings, volunteered to help build the kits during the last session several weeks ago.

“Rather than giving money to people, it helps them grow their own produce and feed their families,” she said. “It’s a good cause.”

The sessions involve measuring, cutting and rolling the plastic tubing as well as stuffing all of the parts into an envelope.

Mr. Chapin said he hopes to have a stock of 300 to 500 kits that can be sent as soon as they are requested.

The next session will be held at an undetermined date in “the next few weeks,” Mr. Carlson said. Anyone 10 or older can help.

For more information, call Mr. Carlson at 405-4516.

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