GR water drive collects 1K cases for Flint residents

Cases of bottled water for Flint residents who are dealing with a drinking water crisis. (Jan. 16, 2016)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As the fallout from the Flint water crisis continues, people in West Michigan are stepping up and donating water to those in need.

24 Hour News 8 stopped by a water drive held Saturday at the GREIU Union Hall, located at 917 Bridge Street NW in Grand Rapids. Lisa Rule and co-worker Doug Bentz hatched the idea just days ago.

Cases of bottled water for Flint residents who are dealing with a drinking water crisis. (Jan. 16, 2016)
Cases of bottled water for Flint residents who are dealing with a drinking water crisis. (Jan. 16, 2016)

“As city employees that provide safe water to our residents on a daily basis, West Michigan had to do something,” Rule said.

That something quickly developed into the water drive.

Saturday, inside the union hall, came case after case of donated water. Some in bottles, some in gallons — all of it clean. And all of desperately needed right now for the people of Flint.

“Over there, they can’t drink (it), they can’t use it to cook with, they can’t bathe their children in it. And there’s so many children that are already sick from (it),” said Rule. “This is the least that we can do.”

That sentiment seems to be shared by many of the donators who dropped in. The emotions felt here over the crisis over there, some 100-plus miles away, are wide-ranging.

“Mostly anger. Some heads ought to roll,” said Larry Strockis, who donated water Saturday.

“It turns my stomach that someone would allow all of this to happen,” said Rule.

For Wanda McIntosh, who drove up to drop off a few cases, the reasons for giving are simple: the little ones caught up in this big problem.

“The kids,” McIntosh said. “I have a few myself, so. I think it’s pretty sad. So anything to help is fine, as long as it’s for the kids.”

If you think a small donation doesn’t matter, it does. It added up fast on Saturday. And it will make all the difference for people in Flint struggling over one of life’s basic necessities.

“It’s my, our little part that we can do. We’re fortunate that we can do it, so why not,” said Strockis.

“We care about them. And they’re not forgotten,” Rule said of the residents of Flint.

By the end of the water drive, organizers had collected more than 1,000 cases and nearly 400 containers of water.

It will be driven to Flint on Wednesday — by a driver, in a truck, and with gas — that’s all donated as well.

The United Way of Genesee County is taking donations to pay for bottled water, filters and prevention efforts in Flint. Donations can be made online.

The Plainwell High School Interact Club is hosting a water drive through Feb. 5. Donations of gallons and bottled water may be dropped off at any Plainwell school office, as well as these locations:

  • Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, located at 1289 W. M-89; from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Gun Plain Township Office, located at 381 8th St.; from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
  • Ameriprise Financial, located at 102 N. Main St., Suite A; from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.

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