Biddeford Middle School recently received a grant to install water bottle filling stations. Courtesy photo

BIDDEFORD — Biddeford Middle School students and staff now have access to water bottle filling stations thanks to two significant donations from Maine Water Company and Let’s Go! York County in partnership with Southern Maine Health Care. Over the summer, the units were purchased at cost and installed in-kind by Jim Godbout Plumbing & Heating.

“These units are quite costly,” said Director of Community Outreach and Development Karen Chasse. “We are extremely grateful for the donors’ contributions and the BMS Wellness Team for leading this effort to improve healthy choices among our students and staff.”

At an all-school assembly on Oct. 21, the water bottle filling stations were highlighted at a special event with the donors. Maine Water Company discussed the National “Imagine a Day without Water” Day. Americans often take water for granted and this national day was established to raise awareness and educate people about the value of water as our most precious resource. Maine Water Company then distributed over 600 reusable aluminum water bottles for all the students and staff. Following the event, one student exclaimed, “this is so much better than drinking straight from the fountain!”

BMS Wellness Team Chair Alex Millett added, “There is no lack of evidence that these water bottle fountains promote healthy habits of drinking more water, possibly assisting in raising educational outcomes in brain health, and help the environment by reducing plastic bottle waste. I appreciate Let’s Go!’s involvement on our Wellness Team and the support provided by all three organizations to make this a reality at BMS.”

As noted, tremendous effort has gone into obtaining two water bottle filling stations. Millett added, “Many pieces of the puzzle had to match up to get this job done. We are fortunate to have several caring and top-notch people, companies, and committees in our area to help us with this endeavor. Maine Water Company and Let’s Go! donated funds to purchase the units and Jim Godbout Plumbing and Heating donated the labor and installed the fountains. Ultimately, our goal is to convert the majority of water fountains in Biddeford schools to water bottle filling stations to give our students the edge needed to succeed. It makes sense, better hydration in all parts of the body leads to better health. We are creatures made up of between 57 to 78 percent water depending on age. It certainly does take a village to raise our youth properly.”