Community Lends Helping Hand in Flint Water Crisis

Feb 13, 2016

With the current water crisis happening in Flint, residents are needing safe water and are relying on donations. Fortunately, Good Samaritans around the country have been stepping up to help and choosing U-Haul to assist them in their acts of charity.

Liz Lamoste and the pastor of a small church needed to store water donations from the community. Team U-Haul helped fund a storage unit to house the bottles before delivery.

Flint water donations

Lakeesha Atkinson and Kimberly Wimbish hit the road in a U-Haul truck, traveling all the way from Virginia to bring water to Flint residents.

Lamoste, who lives about an hour outside of Flint, has been campaigning within the community to send water donations to residents without clean water.  She said the U-Haul storage space was ideal because it provided climate control and security.

Other U-Haul customers have also been doing some pretty wonderful things for the Flint community. Lakeesha Atkinson and Kimberly Wimbish of Hampton Roads, Virginia, took it upon themselves to gather community donations and rent several U-Haul vehicles, including a cargo van and several moving trucks, to bring water to Flint.  After posting on Facebook asking for 100 cases of water, they were overwhelmed with the response; the pair delivered the water door-to-door in Flint and ended up distributing more than 80,000 bottles. Atkinson said the community’s help in bringing water donations and funds for trucks, travel expenses and more water were key to helping the people of Flint.

“I must say without those U-Haul rentals, our mission would have been impossible,” she noted in an email.  “It was a sacrifice to be out of work for a week, but this is a moment and movement that I will forever hold dear in my heart. We went into the neighborhoods that weren’t on the water distribution list as well as senior communities. They were so grateful.”

Rachel Bayer, general manager at U-Haul in Troy, MI, got the help of two friends, Michelle Kirk and Dave Anderson, and teamed up with Central Church in Madison Heights to collect water for Flint. Kirk’s family resides in Flint and have been affected by the water contamination crisis, so the trio wanted to get involved. Team U-Haul donated a truck for them to transport the water.U-Haul Helps Flint, Michigan Water Crisis

“We gathered [water] for a week straight and donated 307 cases of water to Flint,” Bayer said. “We had a total of 7,675 pounds of water that was donated. As we dropped off the water, Flint residents were coming in car loads picking up cases and filters.”

Bayer added, “We could not have done this without the donation of U-Haul.”

The community is particularly in need of gallon jugs of water, not just bottles, for bathing and brushing, tweeted @DevineCarama. The hip-hop artist drove a U-Haul truck filled with water bottles 8 hours to Flint from Lexington, Kentucky, totaling about 500 cases of water in five days.

Liz Lamoste added that there is still much room for donations and assistance in Flint. Visit Help for Flint or the American Red Cross to see how you can help.  Thanks to the kind hearts of people like Lamoste, Atkinson, Wimbish and Carama, Flint is receiving help from many selfless U-Haul customers who have given up a lot of time and energy for those in need.

What are some ways you help your community?  Tell us in the comments!

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