The University of Houston will host a bottled water drive to aid residents affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, March 11, at Lot 12A between Cougar Place and TDECU Stadium.
The drive is sponsored by the UH Black Leadership Network and the Office of Community Relations and Institutional Access. Donations must be whole cases of 24-pack 16.9 oz. water bottles. Single bottles will not be accepted, and no monetary donations will be accepted. Volunteers will be on hand to assist donors in unloading water bottle cases from their vehicles at the drop-off site.
The idea for the drive began at a press conference hosted by the Black Heritage Society on Jan. 29. Water supply vendors at the conference issued a rallying call for the Houston community to assist in efforts to donate water to Flint residences. Members of the Black Leadership Network, the Office of Community Relations and Institutional Access and other UH leaders were invited to the event.
“At the time of the conference, families were only getting one case of water per day for cooking, cleaning and bathing, which is clearly not enough,” said Debbie Samuels, interim president of the Black Leadership Network. “The Houston community wants to help, and we thought this would be a great community service project bringing UH students, staff and alumni together to give back.”
“The tragic situation in Flint has attracted national attention. The campus community has always been generous when given an opportunity to help alleviate suffering in such situations,” said Elwyn C. Lee, vice president of the Office of Community Relations and Institutional Access. “We hope that the spirit of generosity will be on full display on March 11.”
Donations to the drive will be picked up by the Houston Food Bank and local Houston fire stations helping out with collecting water donations. They will be shipped to water distribution centers in Flint, which will then deliver the cases to residents. Some of the Flint distribution centers include Greater Flint Outreach Center, The Flint After School Program – Flint ISD-Flint Community Schools, Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church, The Muslim House, Inc., Reaching the World Ministries International, St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church and the International Association of African American Firefighters.
Volunteers are needed at the UH water drive to help out with setup, unloading water cases from cars and packaging the cases in preparation for pickup. Volunteers will work in one- to two-hour shifts from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the day of the drive. Those interested in volunteering may contact the Black Leadership Network at email@example.com or at 832-842-4660.
“We are asking for all UH organizations to help support this effort, including our student body, athletics programs, faculty members, administrators and staff, and, of course, our alumni,” said Samuels.