students with their water bottles during the celebrationMerced, Calif. –Dignity Health, The California Endowment, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) and Le Grand and Planada school districts gathered on March 9 to celebrate the newly unveiled water bottle filling stations that have been installed in elementary, middle and high schools. The filling stations were installed through the Agua4All campaign to provide and promote safe water in California’s rural communities.

The celebration featured Dignity Health Director of Communications, Robert McLaughlin; RCAC Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Keasling; The California Endowment Program Manager, Brian Mimura; Merced County Supervisor, Rodrigo Espinoza; representatives from U.S. Congressman Jim Costa, California State Senator Anthony Cannella and Assembly member Adam Gray’s offices; and representatives from each school district.

Speakers encouraged the nearly 300 students in attendance to continue drinking water every day instead of sugar sweetened beverages which can lead to health problems like type II diabetes and obesity. Students responded to the encouragement, holding their reusable water bottles and later demonstrating how to fill them at the filling stations located in several key locations throughout the school, including the cafeteria.

In an ABC30 interview, RCAC’s Chief Executive Officer Stanley Keasling stressed the value of the reusable water bottles, “That’s another important aspect of the program, is keeping single use water bottles out of the landfill,” said Keasling.

To date, the Agua4All program has installed nearly 200 water bottle filling in California schools and communities. Along with the installations, Agua4All staff provides outreach and education to promote consumption of and dispel negative myths about tap water.

Founded in 1978, RCAC provides training, technical and financial resources and advocacy so rural communities can achieve their goals and visions. RCAC serves rural communities in 13 western states and the Pacific islands. RCAC provides a broad range of community and economic development services and lending to support local efforts. To find out more about Agua4All, visit http://www.rcac.org/environmental/agua4all/

Contact: Julia Helmreich, Director, Communications, Development & Events
(916) 447-2854 ext. 1008
jhelmreich@rcac.org