Steve Bowling constructs the birdhouses using only rivets and license plates. More than $4,500 was raised through the effort. | File
Steve Bowling constructs the birdhouses using only rivets and license plates. More than $4,500 was raised through the effort. | File

Archived Story

Birdhouse fundraiser nets enough to build nine wells

Published 8:12pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

In 2013, Steve Bowling set out on a mission to help the 37 percent of the world that has no access to fresh drinking water.

After fixing one of his wife’s birdhouses using a license plate for a roof, Bowling had an idea.

He began making birdhouses entirely form license plates. Over time, Bowling started amassing quite a collection. He settled on a solution – he started selling the birdhouses to raise funds to build wells with the help of his church family at Word Alive International Outreach.

“Originally we set a goal of $5,000 – enough to build one well,” Bowling said. “Since then, we have teamed up with Doc Hendley and his ministry Wine to Water.”

Wine to Water offered to build the wells for $500 a piece. Though they fell short of their goal of $5,000, the cheaper price for wells allowed them to far exceed their other goal of building one well.

“We knocked it out of the park,” Bowling said. “Instead of digging one well, we were able to turn around and dig nine.”

Bowling said they raised $4,500. The money was not raised for any specific country. Instead, Bowling allowed Wine to Water to build the wells where they were needed – Cambodia.

“We just help them with whatever they have going on at that time,” Bowling said. “It doesn’t matter where they are working. We just want to solve the water problem.”
Bowling didn’t put a specific price tag on the birdhouses. Instead, he asked the buyers to give whatever they felt was appropriate.

“The prices ranged from $13 to $200,” Bowling said. “Most of them sold for $35-40.”

Bowling even got a $300 check from a man who didn’t even want a birdhouse.

Wine to Water estimated that $1 can provide a child fresh water for a year.

“Using that number, we were able to give 4,500 children fresh water,” Bowling said.
Though nine wells will soon be in the ground, Bowling doesn’t want to stop his efforts.

“I am going to push on and keep going,” Bowling said. “It has had its ups and downs, but we had a lot of people step up and buy these offerings. As long as I am making a difference, I will keep building birdhouses for clean water.”

Bowling is still selling the birdhouses and accepting donations of license plates. He can be reached at 256-750-5999.

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