“Twilight” actor Michael Welch is taking a break from bloodsucking vampires to help quench a more urgent kind of thirst.
Welch, who plays Bella’s high school bud Mike Newton, in the “Twilight” films, recently contributed a PSA in support of The Thirst Project, a non-profit organization seeking to answer the urgent need for clean drinking water and proper sanitation in Africa – and one charitable Twi-hard may help him provide hands-on help.
“I will be taking a trip to Africa, preferably Swaziland, but we have to raise enough funds in order to do that,” Welch tells PopcornBiz. “If enough people donate, we made a deal with the fans that I'm going to bring one of them with me and they'll get to see firsthand as well.”
Welch recently had his own awareness raised on the issue. “When I take a particularly delicious sip of cold water or take a shower that feels really good, I have said to myself, 'It's unbelievable to me that not everybody has access to this.’ So when [Thirst Project founder] Seth Maxwell introduced this cause to me it immediately struck me as something that I wanted to be a part of. It turns out that this crisis is drastically severe: one out of every six people who don't have clean water in the world. I just thought about myself and five people that I care about, thinking that one of them doesn't have water. It's inconceivable. And the effectiveness of the organization as well has been astonishing. In two and a half years they've been able to provide clean drinking water to 35,000 people.”
The actor appreciates the opportunity to use the fame and following he’s amassed via “Twilight” to make a difference. “This is one of the things that I really do like about being in this position – what some might call a celebrity, at least within the 'Twilight' world: the fact that I can reach people and I have the opportunity to make an impact.”
Meanwhile, he’ll back for the next film, “Breaking Dawn.”
“I will be in at least the first of the last two films, and I'm not sure about the second film yet,” he says. “It's going to be a little strange when it's finally over, when we take the last shot or when we have the last premiere and then that's going to be it and there's going to be no more ‘Twilight.’ This has been going on for I guess a little over two and a half years now, and shoot, it's going to be really interesting to see where we all go from here.”