Giving Water, Restoring Health

Quench Thirst. Reduce Illness. Transform Lives.

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Children celebrate the clean, clear water spouting from a new water system in rural Guatemala.

Billions of families lack access to clean water and quality health care , but you have the power to transform their lives. Working together as the universal Church, we can empower Catholic ministries that provide clean water and medical aid. This powerful combination of support will strengthen our suffering brothers and sisters by improving their health, quenching their thirst, and pointing them to Christ the Healer, from whom all blessings flow!

Lack of safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene causes about 1.4 million deaths per year.

In developing countries around the world, vulnerable people — particularly children and the elderly — face serious health risks that deepen their poverty and threaten their lives. For example, families without clean water often drink from bacteria- and parasite-infested rivers and shallow wells. Sometimes that water makes their children too sick to attend school or even grow and develop properly. To make matters worse, many of these families also lack access to affordable health services, making it impossible for them to treat those dangerous illnesses when they arise.

By supporting Catholic water projects, we can help address this issue at its roots — and by providing medical care, we can help entire families move toward the healthy, full-of-life future that we believe God wants for their lives.

Quick Facts

More than 2 billion people — one in three people worldwide — do not have easy, reliable access to safe drinking water.

Half the world cannot access critical health services.

Nearly 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty and live on $1.90 or less per day due to health costs.

About 1.5 billion people do not have basic sanitation facilities, an issue that further contaminates water sources and promotes disease transmission.

Diarrhea is one of the major causes of death among children under 5 , and approximately 88% of those deaths are due to unsafe water sources, inadequate sanitation services, and a lack of hygiene training.

Between 5.7 and 8.4 million deaths are caused by lack of access to quality medical care in low- and middle-income countries.

A boy in Zambia drinks contaminated water from a stagnant pond.

The Problem

Poverty, Thirst, Disease… Repeat

Poverty and health issues are inextricably — and tragically — linked. In the developing world, many families cannot afford even basic medications, and residents in remote rural villages often struggle to reach distant hospitals and clinics. These challenges can be life-threatening because poor families also lack essentials such as nutritious food and proper housing — deficiencies that wreak havoc on the health of the poor and exacerbate existing medical conditions.

Perhaps one of the most concerning health risks in struggling communities is the lack of clean water. Without safe sources of drinking water, many families must rely on murky rivers, stagnant ponds and hand-dug wells contaminated by animals, insect larvae, pesticides and even human waste. This toxic stew is consumed by families, and intestinal illnesses abound. Already undernourished children suffer most as repeated bouts of diarrhea drain their bodies of the very nutrients they need to grow and succeed.

Constantly sick, children miss school, parents lose productivity, and the cost of medicine eats up any savings. Bad health leads to more poverty, which in turn prevents communities from addressing pressing issues, such as the water crisis. This devastating cycle could continue on and on — until compassionate Catholics, filled with Christ’s love and concern for the poor, step forward to make a change.

Safe water plays an important role in strengthening the health of our sisters and brothers in need. Here, a girl in Zambia washes her face with clean water from a new hand-pump well.

A Combined Approach to Transformation

Empowering Catholic Ministries That Provide Clean Water and Health Care

In Matthew 25, Jesus commends those who serve the needy, saying, “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.” He also says, “I was sick and you took care of me.” By meeting both of these needs, we believe we can provide the most effective means of improving the health of the poor. Our goal is to address a major cause of disease by providing clean water, offering long-term solutions through medical care, and setting families on the path to a brighter future.

Around the world, Catholic priests, religious sisters and lay missionaries are striving to address the most urgent issues facing the impoverished communities they serve. They want to install safe wells and water systems to reduce waterborne diseases. They are also working through clinics, hospitals and mobile outreaches to bring medicines and medical services to respond to the cries of the sick.

By sending funds, as well as shipping medicines and equipment, Cross Catholic Outreach links arms with friends like you to equip these Catholic water projects and health outreaches with the tools they need to provide lasting solutions and share Christ’s hope with the poor.

Rural Nicaraguans face a desperate choice between drinking contaminated water and going thirsty. Join Cross Catholic Outreach in an outpouring of God’s love by helping to deliver clean water systems and improved health to our brothers and sisters in need.

Quench Thirst and Give the Gift of Healing

Without the support of generous donors, our work simply would not be possible. Your gifts to Cross Catholic Outreach enable us to empower Catholic ministries to provide clean water for communities in need. These contributions also support medical ministries by ensuring they have the resources necessary to provide health exams, distribute essential medicines, provide emergency nutrition, perform critical surgeries, and deliver precious babies. Help us save lives — and souls — with Christ’s love!

Give Clean Water and Restore Health

Clean water and good health go hand in hand. Your gift today can restore families’ overall well-being by quenching their thirst, preventing waterborne diseases, and providing essential medical aid. Allow the Lord to work through your generosity and strengthen the poor through tangible acts of mercy!

A boy holds his hand beneath a running faucet while a woman lifts him up to the sink.

How We Help the Poor

Change Even More Lives

Giving monthly is a small way to have a big impact. Your regular support empowers our ministry to respond to urgent needs and fulfill our long-term projects across the world.

Become a monthly donor today and experience the joy of impacting lives every month.

How does poverty affect health?

Living in poverty can have a damaging — even deadly — impact on a person’s physical well-being. Without enough food to eat, the world’s poorest families suffer from the devastating effects of malnutrition, which include stunting and wasting. In addition, lack of clean water and sanitation prevents communities from practicing proper hygiene and protecting their health. Many people battle repeated bouts of waterborne diseases, which further sap them of critical nutrients. Developing countries also have a higher incidence of infectious diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever. Without access to affordable medical care, the poor are often forced to endure their ailments long term, and preventable illnesses spiral into life-threatening conditions.

How does poor health contribute to poverty?

WHO and the World Bank report that household medical expenses push about 100 million people into extreme poverty every year, forcing them to live on less than $1.90 per day. Too many families must choose between necessary medical care and other basic necessities, such as food. Poverty and poor health perpetuate one another in a devastating cycle that keeps people trapped in desperate circumstances. Without assistance, they will remain too poor to afford medical care and too sick to work their way out of poverty.

What causes a lack of clean water?

In developing countries, remote villages beyond the reach of modern water and sewage systems depend on shallow, hand-dug wells and even streams for their drinking water. These sources are heavily contaminated by animals, pesticides from nearby farms, and even runoff from unsanitary latrines. Waterborne bacteria and parasites cause frequent illness, especially among children.

How can we help solve the water crisis?

Working together with Catholic parishes and ministry partners around the world, Cross Catholic Outreach can implement genuine solutions and provide much-needed relief from thirst — with your help!

Any response must consider the particular needs, capabilities and culture of the targeted community and must converge with the vision and capacity of our local ministry partner. Ideally, any solution should combine quality water system construction with an empowerment program that provides health education, equips local leaders and families to maintain a clean water supply, and encourages good hygiene. This isn’t just about mechanical upgrades — it’s also about changing mindsets and raising expectations. In some cases, we also support the installation of sanitary bathrooms, which further protect the local water table.

How can providing both clean water and health care help the poor most effectively?

A person cannot have good health without clean water. Access to safe, abundant water (as well as sanitary bathrooms or latrines) significantly reduces instances of waterborne diseases. It also helps support the nutritional health of growing children, ensuring they don’t lose vital nutrients because of diarrhea or vomiting caused by drinking unclean water. In addition, rural health clinics and hospitals can only operate safely and effectively if they have access to a plentiful source of clean water.

Providing a combination of both water relief and medical support is the most effective solution for reducing diseases, treating existing conditions, and helping families achieve the level of health and strength our loving Lord intends for them.

Donations from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures for this project incurred through June 30, 2025, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.