The Corporations Helping Flint, Michigan, Are Stepping Up In Spite Of The State's Mediocre Response
Amidst a brutal water contamination crisis that has sickened dozens and brought about a state of emergency, help is on the way: 6.5 million bottles of water are in the process of being donated to the city of Flint, Michigan. That amount translates to clean water for 10,000 public school students. Rather than the government or nonprofits making the massive donation, corporations have stepped in to help Flint. The likes of Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nestle, and PepsiCo have banded together for the massive water donation, which has been underway since July.
The numbers break down to Walmart donating 504,000 bottles, Nestle Waters North America donating over 190,000 bottles, and PepsiCo and Coca-Cola donating nearly 95,000 and 78,720 bottles, respectively. Those donations have made it to local food banks, nonprofits, and both school districts in the city. The efforts have been spearheaded by Walmart, a company that is no stranger to helping in times of crisis.
Walmart's Executive VP of Corporate Affairs had this to say about their efforts in a press release announcing the massive bottled water donations:
At Walmart, we take pride in using our strengths to help communities like Flint during times of crisis, as we've done around the world in times of need. We're working to ensure that the children of Flint, the city's most vulnerable citizens, have access to safe water.
Walmart is asking that those interested in getting involved donate to Good360's Flint initiative, which helps fund local organizations like Mission of Hope and Think Beyond the Chair. Good360 is also aiming to provide cases of water, water testing kits, and filtration devices, all of which are EPA approved and will be directly sent to school districts and local residents. The corporation has provided similar aid to disaster areas in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Flint's mayor Karen Weaver, elected in November 2015, recently had her powers restored following an emergency management plan enacted for the city back in 2011 to alleviate "a financial emergency." Though she has not yet issued a statement about the announcement from Walmart, Mayor Weaver has responded to an influx of celebrity donations from the likes of Mark Wahlberg and Cher.
In an interview with TMZ following a visit to Washington, D.C., Weaver stated that she and the residents of Flint were grateful and appreciative. The mayor is expected to provide an update on the state of Flint water alongside Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday.