Local community steps up to help Flint in water crisis

St. Clair Shores group organizes donation drive

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 19, 2016

 State Rep. Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores, and other community members announce St. Clair Shores Supports Flint Families at the Jan. 18 City Council meeting to collect water for residents of Flint.

State Rep. Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores, and other community members announce St. Clair Shores Supports Flint Families at the Jan. 18 City Council meeting to collect water for residents of Flint.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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Community groups, residents and lawmakers are joining together to help those who have unsafe water flowing through their taps.

“We are really just a group of concerned citizens that wanted to do something to help the families of Flint, Michigan during their water crisis,” said state Rep. Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores.

She and other concerned citizens in the city, including the Optimist Club of St. Clair Shores, Lakeview, South Lake and Lake Shore schools, St. Joan of Arc School and Parish, Bethel Lutheran Church, City Council members Ron Frederick, Candice Rusie and Pete Accica, and residents Paul McAdams, Debbie DePape and Sean Zaborowski, have come together to form St. Clair Shores Supports Flint Families.

In announcing the group at the Jan. 18 St. Clair Shores City Council meeting, the coalition said it is organizing a donation drive to help families in the city of Flint during the water crisis, collecting water, water filters and lead testing kits to be sent to the city.

According to the letter sent by Gov. Rick Snyder asking for a presidential declaration of a state of emergency for the city, Flint changed its water source from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River in April 2014. In 2015, monitoring efforts by the city, state of Michigan, the Environmental Protection Agency and physicians at Hurley Medical Center, uncovered elevated blood lead levels in the city. Of the more than 2,600 residents tested, 50 were found to have elevated blood lead levels, with 28 of those children under the age of 6. Genesee County issued a “do not drink” advisory to residents in October 2015.

President Obama declared a state of emergency Jan. 16.

Roberts said the “people of Flint need water,” and St. Clair Shores is a community that always steps up to help those in need. St. Clair Shores Supports Flint Families is collecting bottled water, baby formula water, filters that remove lead from water, water testing kits and monetary donations at several drop-off locations throughout the city:

 

• St. Clair Shores Fire Department Central Station, 26700 Harper Ave.

• Lakeview Public Schools Wheat Building, 27575 Harper Ave., and Lakeview High School, 21100 11 Mile Road

• Lake Shore Public Schools Maintenance and Operations Building, 23120 13 Mile Road

• South Lake Schools Administration Building, 23101 Stadium Drive

• Bethel Lutheran Church, 26400 Little Mack Ave

 

Those wishing to send monetary donations can send checks payable to the Optimist Club of St. Clair Shores with “Flint water” in the memo portion of the check to 32120 Thorncrest Street, St. Clair Shores, MI 48082. There has also been a page created at gofundme.com/scs4flint, and Roberts said an anonymous donor is covering all the fees associated with the GoFundMe page.

“Let folks know on your Facebook pages, on your email, direct them to the site,” Roberts said at the Jan. 18 City Council meeting where the coalition was announced.

Collections will continue as needed, Roberts said, depending on the need in Flint and what action the state and federal government take.

Accica said the coalition was formed in response to inquiries from residents.

“A lot of people were coming to us and wanted to know what they could do,” he said. “As long as this continues, we’ll help those people.”

Councilman John Caron pointed out that humans aren’t the only ones affected by the lack of potable water from the faucet — water is needed for pets as well.

Also, he said, every year local communities complain about the higher water rates being passed along from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, and now the Great Lakes Water Authority, but Flint is a cautionary tale.

“What Flint ran into, there’s a lot of unknowns when you do that (switch),” Caron said. “Unfortunately, Flint is seeing what happens with all that risk right now.”

DePape, president of the Optimist Club of St. Clair Shores, said that the club is proud to support the coalition.

“The residents of St. Clair Shores have always risen to help those less fortunate,” she said in a released statement. “We are a strong community and for the safety of the children and adults of Flint, I expect we will continue to come together to help those in need.”

Learn more on the group’s page on Facebook, Saint Clair Shores Supports Flint Families, or by emailing SCS4Flint@gmail.com.

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