Arlington Citizen-Journal

Arlington nonprofit’s mission is to provide safe drinking water

Arlington Martin grad Brian Lamb, president and founder of Replenish, with his mother, Barbara, in 2013.
Arlington Martin grad Brian Lamb, president and founder of Replenish, with his mother, Barbara, in 2013. Star-Telegram archives

Brian Lamb keeps a lofty goal: to put his nonprofit out of business. The 22-year-old knows it will never happen, but a guy can dream.

Lamb began Replenish on Feb. 1, 2012, in Arlington. The faith-based organization provides clean drinking water to developing countries.

Since its inception, Replenish has launched 16 clean-water initiatives in 16 countries. Last October, it partnered with Rotary Water Projects to provide 82 schools in Homa Bay, Kenya, with portable water filters.

Replenish’s current drive seeks to raise $20,000 to provide 20 more schools in Homa Bay with clean water. It has donations of more than $3,000 so far through its website and crowdfunding.com.

“It’s been such a blessing to be a part of what God is doing through clean water,” Lamb said. “With everything we’ve done, there’s so much work that still needs to be done. There’s definitely no time to sit on our hands. But whether we change one person’s life or a million people, it’s worth it regardless. I think we’re a success.”

The Martin High graduate has seen the organization grow from a dream to reality. He has taken mission trips to Haiti, Moldova — the poorest country in Europe — and Zaragoza, Mexico, to deliver LifeStraws, portable water filters said to kill 99.9 percent of waterborne bacteria and parasites.

In Mexico last summer, Replenish provided 22 families with LifeStraws.

“These people would have barrels outside of their house, and they would leave it out to collect rainwater,” Lamb said. “Hopefully it would rain, so they had something to drink, but the water would sit out there for weeks or months. It looked like chocolate milk. The kids were getting sick and missing school.

“When we came in with the filters, the look on their faces was like, ‘Wow! Finally!’ It was so cool, because we were complete strangers, but when we came over with resources to help them, it was like we had known them forever. They just opened up to us.”

Lamb’s organization has partnered with several coffee shops around the state, including Buon Giorno in Fort Worth and Redefined Coffee in Grapevine. The coffee shops sell bottles of water to benefit Replenish’s efforts. A case of Replenish water funds a LifeStraw, which provides a child with clean water for three years.

Major-league baseball players David Murphy and Jeremy Affeldt and former player Lance Berkman have also teamed with Replenish. Murphy donates a LifeStraw with every run he scores, and Affeldt does the same for every strikeout he throws.

Several churches, including The Church on Rush Creek in Arlington, sponsor the mission trips. Replenish also accepts donations.

Lamb graduates from Texas A&M this month with a degree in university studies leadership. He hopes to work for a nonprofit or a church while continuing Replenish’s efforts as a volunteer.

With an estimated 1 billion people worldwide —or 1 in 7 —lacking safe drinking water, Lamb knows Replenish’s work will never be done.

“It’s day by day,” Lamb said. “As long as I’m serving and making a difference somewhere, I know that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. Replenish is here to stay for sure. As much as I love it, I wish I didn’t have to do it. I wish we didn’t live in a world like that, where there is such a big need for clean drinking water, but unfortunately we do.”

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @NFLCharean

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