Written by Tanya Terry
A huge water giveaway takes place at 11 a.m. until supplies last at Crossover Outreach. National Clean Water Collective has had two major deliveries of water since the coronavirus pandemic hit the area.
“So far we’ve gotten over 10,000 galloons of water in these first two trucks,” said Syrah Scottt, executive chairman of National Clean Water Collective.
“We plan on sending water throughout the COVID-19 crisis,” Scott added.
The first water shipment was distributed at these three locations: Martus/Luna Food Pantry, St. Luke NEW Life Center and St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church. A distribution was also done at Joy Tabernacle from the second shipment. At a previous giveaway, 1,840 boxes of water were given away.
“We announced we were going to implement water filtration systems into the churches and the community centers and that was put on hold because of the COVID crisis,” Scott said. “I see a lot of uncertainty and loss of hope on my Facebook page and throughout social media. I wanted to be able to support the community in some sort of way.”
Scott reached out to Hill Harper and said she would like to be able to give Flint residents some water.
“I also noticed it was a struggle to get water because at the time we were having issues with trucks and all kinds of stuff. There’s still that sort of issue with the supply chain.”
A GoFundMe campaign was launched. Besides WS Darley & Co. Water, supporters included Hill Harper, Iyanla Vanzant, Wristsponsible, Turtle Plastics, Flint PAL Corp, HMD Trucking and Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, The National Clean Water Collective also sends water to the Army Corps of Engineers, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.
“It’s emergency water because this is an emergency.”
Scott said this is a sustainable solution. The outer covering of the water is the cardboard box. Inside is a reusable plastic bag that holds the water. There is a cap inside the box. Each box is 2.64 gallons of water. The water can be used for handwashing, cooking or drinking.
“It’s premium. It’s a better quality water. We want to give Flint the best kind of water. They deserve it, and we need it right now. You guys are experiencing a crisis on top of a crisis.”
Nearly $55,000 was raised through the GoFundMe page.
“People from all across the world, as far as England, have donated, including Iyanla Vanzant; a spiritual teacher with about 1.4 million followers who was just recorded by Oprah. She supported it. She actually interviewed Hill (Harper) and she shared it with her entire community. So people in her community, people from Hill’s community, people from our community-from all across the world-try to pitch it and help Flint.”
Scott said she shared what people were saying on National Clean Water Collective’s Facebook and Instagram page to show that people are still supporting the community.
Harper set up the GoFundMe account, reached out to his friends and supporters including those on social media, is accepting all the money and paying for all the administrative costs so that all the money raised will go to the water and nothing else.
One of National Clean Water Collective’s partners is called the Real Dad’s Network, which focuses on Black fatherhood. A number of those organizations within that network featured Harper on Instagram live. He talked about National Clean Water Collective’s mission to get the water to Flint.
“This is two-fold. This is definitely to get the water to the residents in Flint, but also to continue building awareness about this issue to let people know it’s still happening.”
A number of media outlets, the city of Flint and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan have been helping to get the word out about the water giveaways. The National Clean Water Collective has been receiving water through the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, which earmarked a lot of the water for Flint alone.
According to Scott, those who received the water have been very grateful and the National Clean Water Collective is thankful to be able to do it.
“Our hope is that people can use the water and it helps their immediate needs for cooking, cleaning and drinking, and that it lifts their spirits as well to know that people are supporting them from near and far. We’ve got some partners helping in Flint as well, and we’re very grateful.”
The National Clean Water Collective will be doing water giveaways sporadically throughout the pandemic for as long as they receive support through GoFundMe and outside of GoFundMe. They will resume with their water filtration for the community centers and services as soon as it is possible.
Crossover Outreach is located at Old Gordon Anthony Florist, 402 W. Court St., in Flint, in the 48503 zip code.