Chicagoans send love in a bottle to Flint

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -- Chicago is lending a helping hand to our neighbors to the northwest by collecting bottled water.

Several water drives brought in hundreds of thousands of bottles of water to be delivered to residents in Flint, Michigan.

That community is struggling with lead contaminated water - some even testing positive for lead poisoning.  Last year the City of Flint switched to water from the Flint River to save money, without properly testing the supply.  

Hundreds of volunteers spent their Saturday outside Hyde Park Academy High School on the city's South Side.  There they collected cases of water, bundled them in pallets and loaded them in semi-trucks - 7 trucks so far.

“It warms my heart, it shows that there is still humanity,” said volunteer Ayesha Braggs. “We get such a bad rap and nobody cares, especially in Chicago so much news about violence and stuff.”

Her friend and Chicago firefighter Eric Washington came up with the idea to collect water.  At first the firefighter  hoped to raise $2,000 to buy 1,400 bottles of water. Donations have surpassed that, coming in well over 100,000 bottles.

Washington said he couldn’t stand by and not do something for those in Flint.  

“You see that across the ocean, you don't see that here, it's not supposed to happen here.   Just so somebody can save some money, that's not fair, not humane,” said Washington.

Area churches started their own collection of water, hosted by Sweet Holy Spirit Church at 87th and South Chicago Avenue. On Sunday, the church leaders, along with local leaders, will make a call to action.

“Bishop Trotter along with other leaders will be calling for a federal investigation into the practices of the governor, his office and even the local officials just to get to the root of the problem,” said church spokesperson Sean Howard. “We hear it may be happening in Ohio, today Flint, tomorrow Chicago we don't know.”

“In Chicago we have our own problems, but when we see other people in need we step up,” said Washington.

You can still drop off water donations at Sweet Holy Family church through Tuesday night.

For more information call (773)721-6178.

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