It all started when a Presbyterian church in Columbiana County, Ohio, called Mercer County Commissioner Cloyd E. "Gene" Brenneman, asking how they could help the families whose wells went dry following the earthquake.
"That's something when you think about it," said Jim Sorber, Greenville, president of the Greenville Kiwanis Club. "Someone in Columbiana County is concerned with Mercer County. It was just a random contact; they called Gene and wanted to know how they could help."
Sorber said Brenneman, a member of the Transfer Kiwanis Club, attended the Greenville Kiwanis Christmas dinner Thursday night and spoke to the club about the church's offer and what he planned to do to help the families who lost well water.
The Transfer Kiwanis Club, which is one of the smallest in the local Kiwanis division, contributed $500 to the cause. The club is challenging the other 11 clubs in the division to match the donation.
"All the Kiwanis Clubs in the division are going to work together," Sorber said.
More than 90 homes lost well water after the earthquake, said Jim Thompson of the Mercer County Emergency Management Agency. Most homeowner's insurance policies do not cover well water loss, so residents had to drill new wells at their own expense.
"It costs $3,000 to $4,000 to drill a new well, and most families can't afford it," Sorber said. "There's no grant money available for it. Gene took this upon himself to help out. He went to different Kiwanis Clubs in the area to try to get money."
Brenneman was not available for comment Friday afternoon.