T-shirts, hats, sunglasses, fishing gear and bathing suits were a few of the items brought to King Neptune’s Restaurant Thursday, April 3, bound for El Salvador when local surfers Rob Cordero and Erik Brock travel to the Central American country April 18-27.
With them will be an extra board bag filled with items donated by the community. Those items will be distributed during their journey along with water filters acquired from Waves For Water.
Waves For Water is an organization that focuses on bringing clean water to impoverished countries. Cordero and Brock have already achieved their goal of raising enough money, $500, to take 10 water filters to El Salvador. In addition, Cordero is providing 10 more filters, and another group he and Brock are meeting up with in El Salvador is bringing 17 for a total of 37 water filters.
The individual filters will provide 100 people with clean water for five years, Cordero said.
“We have gotten a huge response,” Cordero said. “When I initially started the Waves For Water profile I didn’t have many hits but when we got it posted to wblivesurf.com it exploded.”
Named Reel Swell Mission, Cordero and Brock’s cause brought in tubs of new items from the community Thursday evening.
Lisa Pellitier Harman of the Buddy Pellitier Surfing Foundation was present to support Cordero and Brock. She said the foundation would match whatever funds they raise to double the amount of water filters taken to El Salvador.
Erin Fitzpatrick, a 10-year-old Wrightsville Beach School fourth grader, said she was happy to donate items like sandals, snorkels, bags, sunglasses, beach toys and bathing suits to the mission.
“My dad told me about this so I went into our garage and I saw we had a lot of things we didn’t use anymore so I thought I could bring it to them,” Fitzpatrick said.
Although they have experienced support from the community and have made connections in El Salvador, Cordero said they are still nervous about the trip.
“This is my first time going to El Salvador but we are going with a lot of faith and know that God is leading us through it,” he said. “This whole project we have been working on has been led by faith, and one thing I have prayed for daily is that God doesn’t let me see the end to this and to leave it up to him.”
Those with items to donate may take them to Surf City Surf Shop. Cordero said whatever items they cannot fit in their luggage will be taken to El Salvador on another trip.
For more information about Reel Swell Mission, visit www.wavesforwater.org/courier/reel-sweel-missions