FLINT (WWJ) – Everyday about 1,500 residents come through Fire Station One in the downtown Flint to pick up cases of bottled water.
National Guard Specialist Eric Perrigan helps with the distribution.
“They tell us what they need and we load it in their car — there’s no specific amount that we give them – some people ask for two all the way up to six,” said Perrigan.
The crisis and the people he’s helping hit close to home.
“I actually grew up in Flint – I have family that is actually living in the area that have lead problems,” said Perrigan. “It’s difficult – I understand it’s a process to get through, to get it fixed. Hopefully gets resolved soon for these guys.”
Flint resident Marcy Lilly, who was living in Kentucky, and decided to move back to her hometown in November said she’s regretted the decision. She said while her water is clear, but she doesn’t know how clean it is.
“I still will probably use bottled water for a while and I’ll still kind of leery of using it for cooking, until I get this test back. I just hope they hurry up and get this resolved. And I hope it doesn’t take as long as they predicted,” said Lilly.
Another facility in Flint, helping with the distribution of water in the city is the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
Governor Rick Snyder spent part of his morning at a food bank in Flint taking a tour and joining volunteers packing boxes of food for those in need.
President of the food bank Bill Kerr says the governor’s visit is important:
“It shows his confidence in the food banks ability to be a logistical arm helping the city of Flint as funds become available it’s very important that he has confidence in us so that we can help the residents of Flint.”
Kerr says that with the lead contaminated water issue in Flint, the food bank has seen an increase in volunteerism and donations but the need is still overwhelming supply.
“Not enough,” he says about the supply. “So we certainly encourage people to donate because the word crisis is exactly what it is. Water is a very difficult commodity – we’re going past the water now and we’re going into put in nutritional food and put it in the hands of people with great need.”
Kerr says they’ve distributed 1.4 million pounds of water alone in the month of January.
“I’ve seen more water than any human being should see,” said Kerr.