Information Book

About Wine To Water

Wine To Water’s US staff, although small in number, shares a huge passion for bringing clean water to folks in need. Our passion unites us and brings us joy as we work with our local partners on the ground. Wine To Water has worked in 25 countries, 11 of which are ongoing projects, and have provided clean water to over 500,000 people since our inception. We find it a privilege to currently work in 5 regions (The Amazon, Dominican Republic/Haiti, East Africa, Nepal and Cambodia) to support over 30 international aid workers on 4 continents, as we all work hard to fight this epidemic together.Our Mission

Wine To Water is committed to serving in community to provide water to those in need.

What We Do

Each project is unique, but the common theme is that we use local people in each country. We develop leaders in the community and educate them on proper water and sanitation methods to promote sustainability. Our work empowers the local community to help them meet their ongoing needs.


in our work is ensuring that the proper type of water system is used for each specific community.

Our methods include shallow & deep wells, well repairs, ceramic water filters, bio-sand filters, Sawyer filters, and rain-water harvest tanks.

We also improve sanitation using latrine and hygiene education.

We use local materials whenever possible.

We monitor and report on all our projects.

We are constantly developing our programs and striving for more efficient systems.

We have water projects in 25 countries

Belize, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Kenya, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, United States, Vietnam, Zimbabwe

How We Began

Doc Hendley is the founder and international president of Wine To Water. In 2003 he dreamed up the concept of the organization while bartending and playing music in nightclubs around Raleigh, North Carolina. The first fundraiser was held in January of 2004 and by August of that year, Doc was living in Darfur, Sudan installing water systems for victims of the government supporting genocide. When Doc returned home in August of 2005, the haunting memories of what he had seen in Darfur drove him to continue building the organization he had started two years earlier.

In 2007, Wine To Water became an official 501(c)3 non-profit. In 2009, Doc and the work of the Wine To Water team was recognized by the CNN Heros program, launching the organization’s efforts globally. Doc’s dream, and the goal of Wine To Water, is to quench the thirst of those in need.

(From Left to Right: David Schroeder, Doc Hendley, Shane Hillman, David Cuthbert, Madi Barker, Lisa Merritt, Josh Elliott, and Katy Cook)

Meet the Wine To Water Team

Doc Hendley

As a student trying to find his calling, Doc learned about the global water crisis while balancing his studies with bar-tending in Raleigh, NC. Captured by the cause, he decided to take action the way he knew best: pouring drinks and playing music for a benefit event. After the surprisingly large success of his first event, Doc found himself in the heart of the Darfur war conflict in 2004 serving to provide water to those in desperate need.

Upon returning to the US, Wine To Water was born in Boone, NC. Since his initial efforts, Doc has traveled around the world helping combat the water crisis, impacting both our local communities and those abroad. He is relentless in his pursuit to ensure clean water to those in need.

David Cuthbert

David is a former Navy Special Operations Officer and currently serves as the CEO. He joined WTW in September 2014, inspired by its team and purpose to serve others. He loves to be a part of a team committed to doing something great.

Lisa Merritt

Lisa currently lives in Raleigh, NC and serves as the Director of Volunteer Programs. She has been coordinating volunteers internationally since 2005 and is passionate about connecting people to service opportunities around the world, while exposing them to the global water crisis.

Josh Elliott

Josh began volunteering with Wine To Water as a student in 2009. He started the first WTW student club at Appalachian State University. Today, he serves as the International Operations Director and ​insures that all ​of our ​projects ​are implemented in an empowering way. He is dedicated to building the Wine To Water community, sharing our story, helping folks in need, and riding his Harley as much as possible while doing it.

Katy Cook

Katy is a native to Boone, NC and graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Public Relations, Nonprofit Management. She first began volunteering with Wine To Water in high school and is one of our longest-serving supporters. With a passion to organize and create efficient systems, she came on staff in April 2015 as the Administrative Director.

Madi Barker

After interning as the Operations Intern during her final semester at Appalachian State University, Madi accepted the offer to come on board as the Development Manager. She works primarily to empower our professional chapters across the country to engage their communities in serving those in need. She is passionate about understanding others and finding ways to connect people’s strengths and skills to transform lives with clean water.

Shane Hillman

Shane started working with Wine To Water in the fall of 2015 as the Program Development Manager. In addition to helping maintain international operations, Shane is our personal chocolatier and loves making healthy, organic Community Well chocolate to raise funds for water projects.

Sarah Herbert

Sarah first heard about Wine To Water as a college student at Appalachian State University. After graduating, she kept tabs on the organization, and when she ended up back in Boone years later working at ASU as an office manager, she got in contact with the volunteer director, Lisa Merritt, asking how to get involved. After interning for a year with the volunteer program on top of working her full time job, Sarah made the move to join WTW full time as the Intern Coordinator. She has a passion for helping others succeed in what they are doing and enjoys using her organizational skills and love for college students to fight the water crisis.

Tina Owen

Tina has worked with incredible non-profits around the globe and in North Carolina. She recently volunteered in the Dominican Republic with Wine To Water for five months as part of a family sabbatical with her husband and three teenage children. Having lived in rural Africa, Central America, and the Dominican Republic; she is passionate about building partnerships and leveraging resources so together we can be part of community transformation in our own neighborhoods and around the world. She now serves as the Director of Grants and Fund Development for Wine To Water.

Kaylie Kushmer

Kaylie was born and spent the majority of her life in Tampa, FL and found out about Wine To Water through a Just One Shift event there. She served in the Amazon with WTW in the fall of 2014 and her heart and global perspective was forever changed. She created the Tampa chapter of WTW in March of 2015, took another volunteer trip to the Dominican Republic in October of 2015 and has held fundraisers to support the clean water missions. With a very diverse background focused on building relationships, she has recently come on board the WTW staff as the Volunteer Program Coordinator. She will be leading trips into the field as she helps grow this integral part of the organization.

The Global Water Crisis

Out of the 6.7 billion people on earth, 2.4 billion lack access to basic sanitation and 663 million lack access to clean water. Every 20 seconds a child dies of a waterborne illness and 443 million school days are lost each year from water related illnesses.

Since 2004, Wine To Water has provided over 500,000 people with access to clean water.

Geographic Info: Dominican Republic

Motto: “God, Fatherland, Liberty.”

Capital: Santo Domingo

Population: 10,000,000

Currency: Peso

Religion: Dominantly Roman Catholic

Government Structure: Unitary Presidential Republic

Total GDP: $98.7 billion

Per Capita: $9,646

Official Language: Spanish

Popular Sports: Baseball

Staple Foods: Plantains, rice meat

Major Exports: Cocoa, coffee, gold (Rum, Vegetables, Cigars)

Major Imports: Petroleum and Industrial Raw Materials

Meet the WTW Dominican Republic Team:

Radhames Carela, Local Filter Technician

Radhames is essential to our team because of his ability to create and build every filter for the locals in the Dominican Republic. He is a wonderful and passionate man who wants to bring clean water to those in need.

Fany Dominguez, Program Manager

Fany started working for the WTW Dominican Republic team four years ago as Ingrid’s assistant and now works in the community projects area. Born with the desire to serve, it brings her great satisfaction that through helping a family or a community, she is changing lives. The smiles she receives in return are priceless.


Day 1

PM: Arrive and Team Orientation

Day 2

AM: Attend a Local Church
PM: Culture and City Tour

Day 3

AM: Tour of the Factory
PM: Work in the Factory

Day 4

AM: Work in the Factory
PM: Community Pre-Filter Interviews/Children’s Program

Day 5

AM: Filter Distribution
PM: Water Lab Tour/Community Hygiene and Sanitation Lesson

Day 6

AM: Work in Factory
PM: Community Follow-Up Reviews

Day 7

AM: Whitewater Rafting or Horseback riding
PM: Rest at the Resort

Day 8

AM: Depart Home

Frequently Asked Questions

What should a team pack?
Work clothes (pants are recommended due to mosquitos), work gloves, shorts, light jacket, toiletries, notebook, reusable water bottle, closed toed work shoes (tennis shoes are fine), church outfit, sunscreen, raincoat, towels, camera (optional), hat, sunglasses, personal medications, and passport. You do not need to bring pillows or bedding; those will all be provided for you but bring a pillow if you want one.

What airport should we fly into?
Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI)

Is there a dress code?
We ask that you dress modestly.

Is there an age requirement?
Individual: As an individual, you are required to be age 18 or older.
Group: Age requirements are dependent on the leader of the group. Keep in mind that Wine To Water requires anyone age 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult or guardian.

Will a children’s program need to be prepared?
Yes! We will be going into the community that we are creating filters for a day or two before the distribution, and having a children’s program for about 50 children would be great. Teaching about the importance of clean water is always a good topic to incorporate. Crafts, games, skits, coloring books, or the water cycle bracelets are a great idea. Hygiene kits are often distributed after the WaSH Program for children is taught within the community. Included within these hygiene kits are a toothbrush, small toothpaste, dental floss and a ziplock bag for each kit. Optional items can include hand sanitizer, small soaps, small bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Typically, 50–100 kits are used during a distribution.

Do we need a visa to enter your country?
There is no visa, but you will need to purchase a Tourist Card when you arrive. Each card is $10/person. This card must be paid in CASH, so be sure to bring cash on the plane!

What is the recommended group size?
The maximum group size for the Dominican Republic is 20 volunteers. We have two rooms that can house 10 people each, so we can split between men and women or have 10 in each.

What are the living conditions like?
There are bunkbeds and hammocks, there is NO hot water, and there may not be electricity.

What vaccinations and medications are needed?
We recommend that you check with your doctor (ideally 4–6 weeks before departure) for any personal medications, letting them know where and when you will be traveling.

Required Vaccinations and Medications:
-Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine
-Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
-Hepatitis A and B
-Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis vaccine
-Malaria medicine (taken orally before, during, and after your trip)

Recommendations for other medications:
-Diarrhea/Stomach medication
-Anything for dehydration

What is the weather like?
We encourage all volunteers to check the weather before departing, however, the Dominican Republic is generally hot and sunny during the day and rainy in the evening.

What will meals be like?
Dominican cuisine is predominantly Spanish, Taino and African. The typical dishes are filled with fresh plantains, meat and rice.

Will there be snacks to purchase?
There is a corner store nearby to purchase cold drinks, cookies and snacks but we recommend bringing some snacks from home as well.

Is there a way to contact the US?
We encourage all volunteers to “unplug” as much as possible while serving on their trips. Even if internet is available, we ask that you limit the amount of time you spend online in order to fully engage in the experience. There is internet available in the DR, but it is not strong, so only small emails can be sent. The site leaders will have cell-phones for any emergencies.

Are the electrical outlets the same as they are in the US?
The outlets are the same as they are in the states, but the electricity is inconsistent and low. In order to conserve the amount of electricity used, we ask that volunteers leave hair dryers, straightening irons, etc. at home.

What type of payment are accepted in country?
Cash is the best method of payment. Credit cards, money orders, and other forms of payment are difficult to use once in country. The site hosts can exchange money upon arrival at the guesthouse. We do not recommend exchanging money at the airport, but you can if it is necessary.

What can a team bring to donate?
The ground team will send a wish list to Wine To Water periodically. Please send an email for an updated list. WTW Dominican Republic prefers interactive games and activities like face painting, sports, and craft projects.

Volunteer Opportunities

When you sign up as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic, you will get to make the ceramic filters first-hand in the factory. We will teach you what materials go into the filter, show you how to mold them, fire them in the kiln, and then test them for purification. In addition to this, you will have the opportunity to get to know the families that do not have access to clean water and personally distribute water filters to their homes. We also follow-up with previous filter beneficiaries to hear how the filters have changed their lives. When giving the gift of clean water, life is instantly simplified and prioritized. It’s an incredible experience.

Contact Info

Wine To Water

Lisa Merritt
Volunteer Programs Director
770.851.4132 (US Cell)

David Cuthbert
747 West King Street, Suite #200
Boone, NC 28607 USA

Kaylie Kushmer
Volunteer Programs Coordinator
813.468.7585 (US Cell)

Wine To Water : Dominican Republic

Radhames Carela
Wine To Water Filter Technician

Fany Dominguez
National Program Manager

Factory Address: 
Calle Maria Melida Polanco

El Higuerito 56000