The Santa Monica based non-profit Pure Drift has started a fundraising campaign for their upcoming trip to provide clean water across Central and South America.

Santa Monica College photography students, Andres Rennella and Corey Eichenberger, founded Pure Drift in June, but the two have been friends since well before that.

“Corey and I met at the beach in Santa Monica years ago, we surf at bay street,” Rennella said. “Before we became friends we would see each other at the lineup almost everyday.”

Pure Drift was born later, when Rennella decided to drive back to his native Ecuador. Andres came up with the idea of installing water filters in towns along the way, and so his trip evolved into the one the organization is preparing for today.

“I was born and lived in Ecuador for 17 years and I could experience first hand how hard some people get it in life,” Rennella said. “Clean water access in South America is not always a sure thing. Kids in school are sometimes forced by the circumstances to drink contaminated water … a bigger problem through water related diseases.”

Eichenberger shared Rennella’s passion for the clean water crisis and agreed to join him on his drive through Central and South America. “I have traveled a lot and part of being a surfer is traveling to new waves. In those travels I was able to see that not everybody is as fortunate as us here in the U.S.” Eichenberger said. “Water is a growing problem and we feel the need of doing something about it.”

The duo, along with Pure Drift’s two other members, Lesley Roberts and Emelie Aggest√•l, have done small test installations in towns through Baja, California to gauge how effective their big trip might be. So far they’ve been very successful.

“We’ve done long weekend trips to get a sense of where we’re going to find people who need filters, how they respond to it, whether this is logistically possible,” Roberts said. “So far we’ve had an 100% success rate.”

The filters Pure Drift uses are small and simple. They attach to a bucket, which can be refilled, providing 1 million gallons of clean water before they need to be replaced. However, valued at $50 dollars each, Pure Drift lacks the funding to buy the 200 they will need to complete their trip. Their Go Fund Me campaign aims to raise $15,000 by the time they leave in September, which will allow them to buy the filters needed to provide clean water for 20,000 people from Mexico to Ecuador.

“It has been hard getting help from local businesses and the local government, but our friends, family, business nationwide, and the people of Santa Monica are a huge part of Pure Drift,” Eichenberger said. “We’re hoping that local businesses and the City of Santa Monica can give us a hand to make this project become a solution for tens of thousands of boys and girls that can’t access clean drinking water on their daily lives.”

Although they are very focused on their current campaign, Rennella and Eichenberger have been thinking about the future of their organization after they complete the trip. “The whole idea started with the trip as the focus and then it was going to end,” Roberts said. “But the process of funding the trip and meeting the people and doing the work has been transformative for all of us. The two of them are really coming into their own and recognizing what they’re doing.”

Pure Drift’s fundraising campaign can be found athttp://www.gofundme.com/puredrift.

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