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Want to help Flint? Here's what you can do in Grand Rapids

The Flint water drive at Lincoln Developmental Center.

Here's how Grand Rapids residents can help get clean, safe water to the people of Flint, Michigan.
As the people of Flint face an unprecedented water crisis, in which residents are unable to drink tap water contaminated by lead, Grand Rapidians and others in West Michigan are stepping up to help the individuals who have been poisoned in Flint.

We have rounded up several ways you can help, and if you know of other drives, events or ways to lend a hand, please let us know in the comments below.

Bring water to Grand Rapids Community College's collection

What: 
Theresa Tran, of the GRCC's Asian Student Union, said her organization wanted to help as soon as they learned of the crisis in Flint, and the group has received permission from the school to conduct a water drive, for which they will be collecting water bottles and water jugs.

Where: Grand Rapids Community College Student Center (see a map of the campus here).

When: February 1 through February 12, Monday through Friday from 12-3pm.


Donate to Grand Valley State University’s drive

What: GVSU’s NAACP Grand Valley Chapter, Professional Organization for Women Entering Reality, Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity, Astro International Movement, and National Pan-Hellenic Council are organizing a drive to collect water bottles for residents of Flint. The drive is also being supported by the Women’s Center and the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department.

Where: GVSU Kirkhof Center lobby and the Women’s Center (Room 1201 in the Kirkhof Center).The Kirkhof Center is located at GVSU’s Allendale Campus.

When: January 28-29, 12pm-2pm.

More information: Visit the drive’s website or call the Women’s Center at 616-331-2748.


Bring cases of bottled water to Lincoln Developmental Center

What: Lincoln Developmental Center, a public school that works with students with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities, is collecting cases of bottled water. Principal Steve Kadau noted that, “we like to think of this as an opportunity for our students to give back to the community.”

Where: 862 Crahen Rd. NE

When: Water can be dropped off any time during regular school hours, 8am-3:30 pm through February 2.

More information: Call the school at 616-819-2740.


Lend a hand at True Light Baptist Church

What: True Light Baptist Church has had major success collecting water for the people of Flint in recent weeks, but, fortunately, the drive isn’t over. In addition to dropping off water for the drive, those interested in helping can donate funds to the church’s drive through the Givelify phone app. To do so, download the Givelify app, search for “True Light Baptist Church Grand Rapids, Mi” and pick the amount to donate.

Where: 900 Thomas Street

When: Donate water from 10am-5pm on Thursday, January 28.

More information: Contact the church at 616-247-8072.


Bring water to Art Van Furniture stores

What: Wood TV8 is teaming up up with Connecting with Community partners to gather water for Flint. They are collecting sealed bottles and jugs of water, which will be trucked to Flint and distributed to residents by Catholic Charities.

Where: All Art Van Furniture stores throughout West Michigan. In Grand Rapids, you can bring the water to the store at 4375 28th St. SE. To find the store closest to you, go here.

When: Through February 11.

More information: Visit Art Van Furniture’s website for various contact information.


Donate funding to United Way’s Flint fund

What: Heart of West Michigan United Way is asking residents to donate money to the United Way of Genesee County, which has set up a fund for the purchase of water filters, bottled water and prevention efforts. One hundred percent of the fund is used for these projects. After the immediate water needs of Flint residents has been met, any remaining funds will be directed to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund. You can also make donations directly to this fund here.

Where: Go here to donate online.

When: Any time!

More information: Call the United Way at 810-232-8121 or visit the United Way of Genesee County’s website and Facebook page.


Take a road trip and donate water in Flint

What: If you’ve done your own water drive, or would rather go straight to Flint yourself, there are plenty of groups who need your help.

Where and when: For donations of 100 cases of water or less, you can go to Catholic Charities Center for Hope (517 E. Fifth Ave.) from 9am-4pm Monday through Friday, or to the Red Cross (1401 Grand Traverse) from 9am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday. If you have 100 cases or more to donate, you can go to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan (2300 Lapeer Rd.) from 8am-4:30pm Monday through Friday.


Volunteer in Flint

What: If you’d like to lend a direct hand to Flint, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan is looking for more help.

More information: Call Karol Conrad, the volunteer coordinator, at 810-396-0210. See more about volunteering on the Food Bank’s website.

Do you know of other ways to help in Grand Rapids? Let us know in the comments below.

Anna Gustafson is the managing editor at Rapid Growth. Connect with her via email (AKGustaf@gmail.com) and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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