Growing and strengthening west Michigan's middle class
FLINT January 25, 2016– In times of crisis or disaster, United Way’s role is to mobilize resources for those in-need. United Way of Genesee County has taken the lead on coordinating fundraising for the purchase of filters, bottled water, and prevention efforts.
So far, with the help of donors, United Way has sourced more than 11,000 filter systems, 5,000 replacement filters, an ongoing supply of bottled water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, and a dedicated driver for daily distribution.
Also, Heart of West Michigan United Way is now fielding calls from Genesee County to help link residents of Flint to water resource sites and information.
In anticipation of high call volumes from Flint, 2-1-1 call centers across the state have been preparing to help residents find the resources they need. The call centers at Heart of West Michigan United Way and the United Way of Southeast Michigan have been answering calls from Genesee County. Specialists at Heart of West Michigan United Way are trained in disaster preparedness and response. Anyone who is looking for help can call anytime, 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, or chat with a specialist online. Through the proactive assistance of Heart of West Michigan United Way, call wait times for callers from Flint reduced to 2 to 3 minutes.
“Our goal is to assist with call volume. In a crisis, 2-1-1 is a centralized number to get direct, correct information and let people know where they can find help,” says Sherri Vainavicz, 2-1-1 Program Manager at Heart of West Michigan United Way. “We want to make sure people get the answers and services that they need as quickly as possible.”
Water resource sites have been set up around Flint to serve as one-stop locations where residents can pick-up all of the resources they need to ensure their drinking water is safe, including bottled water, water filters, replacement cartridges, and home water tests. Residents are urged to use filtered water for drinking, food preparation, brushing teeth, and filling pet bowls. Unfiltered water may be used for bathing and cleaning. All Flint children under six-years-old should have their blood levels tested.
Residents who need site locations, transportation, or any other assistance can call 2-1-1.
If you would like to organize a collection, consider water filters. Filters are in high demand because they are more sustainable for families and the environment. If you would like to donate bottles of water and have less than 100 cases of water to donate, you can drop them off at these locations:
Catholic Charities Center for Hope, 517 E. Fifth Ave, Flint
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Red Cross, 1401 Grand Traverse, Flint
Saturday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Donations of 100 cases or more, pallets of water or donations in one semi-truck:
Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, 2300 Lapeer Rd., Flint
Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
For extra-large donations, such as multiple semi-trucks, delivery arrangements can be made by emailing Janet Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org. In-kind donations include labor to install filters and trucks to deliver materials. All in-kind donors should contact Janet Hunter at email@example.com.