4 Places You Can Donate To Help Flint, Michigan

by Cate Carrejo

The nation has been left in shock and outrage over the public health emergency of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The corrosive water from the Flint River, which the city only started using two years ago in a money-saving effort, has been leaking lead into the residents' water supply for months. The EPA claims that lead is a cause for concern if it reaches levels of five parts per billion in water, and the highest level found by researchers at Virginia Tech was 158 parts per billion, 30 times higher than the lower limit of concerning levels. So how can you donate to Flint, Michigan to help?

Sadly, those toxic levels of lead, and the dubious politics that lead to the crisis, have left an indelible mark on the lives of Flint residents. Flint was struggling before the water crisis. About 60 percent of Flint children lived in poverty in 2014, and the city was stuck in a precarious financial situation that zapped public resources and originally prompted the switch to the corrosive water.

Many people in Flint don't have the resources to support themselves through this crisis, which is why charitable donations and public support are especially vital in this situation. If you're eager to help the beleaguered city recover from this crisis, here are six ways you can help the people of Flint:

Flint Water Fund

The Flint Water Fund, organized through the United Way, is working within the community to meet the short-term needs of Flint residents. You can donate individually, or raise money through a school or work fundraiser. If you live in the area, the United Way is also requesting volunteers for water delivery whenever possible.

Flint Children's Fund

Any leftover donations from the Water Fund will be sent to the Flint Children's Fund, but you can also donate directly to the organization. Lead poisoning is particularly harmful in children, and can leave kids with permanent cognitive and intellectual disadvantages. The Flint Children's Fund is working to support children during the ongoing crisis and preparing for a generation of kids who have been affected by the crisis.

Catholic Charities

Because Flint residents are relying on bottled water for all water consumption needs at the moment, the demand is incredibly high. If you're in a position to donate truckloads of bottled water that you already physically have, the Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties is organizing high-volume donations.

Flint Water Study

The Virginia Tech scientists who first evaluated the conditions of the water in Flint are seeking financial support for their investigation of the contaminated water. The group was crucial in identifying the crisis and bringing awareness of its severity to the public. Donate to their GoFundMe page so the researchers can continue their efforts.

And if you're not in a position to donate, but you'd still like to help, here are some other resources:

The state of Michigan is still charging Flint residents for their water bills — even though the water met EPA classifications for "toxic waste" in December. Sign this petition to urge Michigan governor Rick Snyder to stop forcing water payments for the people of Flint.

Letter Writing

The public attention to the crisis in Flint has increased dramatically in recent weeks, but that may not be quite enough to force governmental change. Fill out this complaint form through the governor's website, tweet your concerns here, call this number at the governor's office, and send physical mail to this address. As much communication as possible is the best way to show the people of Flint your support and force change in the Michigan state government.

Flint has an uphill battle toward recovery, but generosity from individuals and communities across the country should help speed that process.