A charity shop in Keighley set up by married couple Chris and Glenis Kounnas has reached a £100,000 milestone to support thousands of people across the world to access clean water.
They were inspired to set up the Fresh Waters shop on Bridge Street in 2010 after grandson Luke had visited Uganda a few years before. By selling bric-a-brac, clothes, furniture and other unwanted items donated, the shop supports the Samaritan's Purse WaSH (Water, Sanitisation and Hygiene) project across the world.
Chris and Glenis say the money they have now raised through the charity shop is enough to buy almost 2,000 water filters and enable close to 20,000 people to have access to clean water.
Grandson Luke now manages the shop, which has expanded to have a warehouse holding second-hand furniture and electrical goods.
Glenis said: “We are amazed at how it’s continued to grow. I remember thinking it was pretty amazing when we reached £50,000, but now we’re at £100,000. Who would have thought it?
“We started with a table top sale after hearing about Samaritan’s Purse and that made £700. We just kept going from there. Then we were in the markets and before you knew it we had a shop and then a warehouse… just recently we had an antique shop closed down and they donated us all their items. The stuff just keeps coming. It’s been a miracle and we’re so grateful to God for helping us along the way.
“We send as much as we can to Samaritan’s Purse, they’re a charity we love and trust. We also help people in the local community and give them items if they’re struggling. My husband has suffered with ill health in recent years so our grandson is now the manager and he is supported by wonderful volunteers.”
After having been so impacted by his experiences in Uganda in 2007, Luke, commented: “Clean water literally saves families’ lives and I saw that tangible difference for myself in Uganda. It is a privilege to serve as our shop and warehouse manager over the last few years alongside essential local volunteers who are just as enthusiastic as me and we always welcome more!
“We have also expanded our operation to open a large warehouse within walking distance of our shop, collecting and selling furniture and home essentials which I think is great, as it means we can provide more items to the community and raise even more for those in need.”
Samaritan’s Purse spokesman Matt Smith paid tribute to the family, adding: “Fresh Waters charity shop has been an amazing supporter of Samaritan’s Purse over the years and through their hard work and zeal for providing people in need with clean water, Chris, Glenis, Luke and the team have achieved a remarkable milestone of £100,000 to WaSH programmes!
“We are very thankful to them and their community and know that what they have achieved, has over the years changed many people lives for the better.”
Samaritan’s Purse is an international relief and development organisation that works through local churches to proclaim and demonstrate the love of God amongst communities in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Samaritan’s Purse family has been providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world since 1970.