Reggie volunteers alongside Tommy McDoniel, pastor at Flint Asbury United Methodist Church. Asbury hosts one of eight Water Crisis Resource Centers in the city. In addition to supplies made available by the Crossroads District, the Michigan State Police has provided filters and bottled water to the steady stream of residents coming to the Center. ~photo courtesy Peter Plum
News Editor, Michigan Area of The United Methodist Church
“I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.” The Crossroads District of the Detroit Conference of The United Methodist Church is taking those words of the Gospel of Matthew very seriously.
Since November, 2015 Peter Plum has served as the Crossroads District’s Emergency Water Crisis Coordinator, assisting churches and communities of the City of Flint.
On January 8 Plum announced the launch of eight neighborhood Water Crisis Resource Centers, , the day after CNN reported that a federal investigation was underway in the matter.
Flint Court Street United Methodist Church is the site of one of eight Water Crisis Resource Centers in Flint supported by the Crossroads District. ~photo Flint Court Street Facebook
Each center is equipped to provide free water filtration systems, replacement filters, zero-water filtration pitchers and educational materials. Water testing kits, issued by the City of Flint to promote residential water testing, are also available at the centers.
These Centers are located in United Methodist churches throughout the city.
Churches and individuals are encouraged to contact Pete if they want to donate and/or help: 810-624-5577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crossroads District intends to provide and equip congregations with basic resources for neighbors and constituents through the duration of the crisis. Donations and resources are encouraged to meet the needs of the community.
Cheryl S. Rentschler, Administrative Assistant for the Crossroads District, adds, “We need additional donations to keep funding the filtration systems for residents not served and the cost of the ongoing need to replace the water filters.” Filters must be replaced every 60-90 days depending on the condition of the water and the pipes.
When asked if donations of bottled water are helpful, Plum replied, “I am not refusing ANY donations of pre-purchased items, including water. However, cash is much more flexible to use towards purchasing filters.” By buying in bulk Peter is able to purchase PUR faucet systems for $15 each and replacement filters (PUR and Brita) for $10 each.
Donations, payable to the Crossroads District with memo “Water Crisis”, may be sent to: Flint Water Crisis, Crossroads District Office of the UMC, 1309 N. Ballenger Hwy. Ste. #2, Flint, MI 48504. Every cent of every contribution will be spent on the needs of Flint’s citizens.
Flint Calvary UMC offers “a cup of cold water in his name” as the Gospel commands. ~photo courtesy Peter Plum
Plum explains, “Since April of 2014, the city has been undergoing restructuring efforts with their water suppliers and the solutions have not resulted in the best quality of drinking water.” There are city-wide instances of unsafe contaminates and lead in the water. “Although the city has returned to their original source provider,” Plum continues, “there are still many areas in Flint with unsafe water.”
For the past two months Plum has worked with the local governmental and relief agencies to coordinate efforts in providing water filtration systems, filtration pitchers and bottled water. He says, “There are pockets of residents who do not have access to these items.” He has assisted those persons in obtaining resources distributed by the municipality. “To further enhance our efforts, we created the local Resource Centers and are equipping these Resource Centers with filtering devices as well as important health information and guidelines for maintaining healthy habits and obtaining safe water.”
A gift from the United Way of Genesee County and private funding got the project off the ground. Crossroads District received a $10,000 gift from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). That grant plus district-raised funds purchased filtration units and replacement filters.