Four Navajo families in Thoreau, New Mexico, can now wash their hands, brush their teeth and flush a toilet thanks in part to the parishioners of St. Dominic Church who poured their Lenten alms into a nonprofit that defends access to fresh water as a basic human right.

The San Francisco parish raised $18,000 for the Navajo Water Project during last year’s “Be Living Water” Lenten campaign and relaunched it again this year for the same purpose. On March 29 they invited the project’s founder to a parish hall soup supper where he told a packed parish hall about his shock at learning that almost two million Americans do not have access to clean, safe water.

“I knew nothing about these neighbors of mine whose first waking thoughts are, ‘How am I going to get enough clean water today just to survive?’” said George McGraw, a Loyola University graduate with a background in international law and human rights who founded in order to bring water to those Americans.

In partnership with organizations like St. Dominic, corporate and individual donors and a network of volunteers, builds low-cost, community-managed water systems to homes, schools and businesses without access to water or sewer lines. It is the first system of its kind in the United States according to its website,

“Be Living Water” asked parishioners to abstain from all beverages other than water and donate the money they would have spent to It also included daily prayer for the Navajo nation and others lacking access to safe, accessible water.

Full story at Catholic San Francisco.