So far, the First Community AME Church and the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute have collected around 20 cases and gallons.

There is an effort in Grand Rapids to help the people of Benton Harbor, who cannot drink tap water because it is contaminated with lead.

“There is nothing like a time like this to come together and collaborate,” said Reverend Dr Willie Gholston.

The senior pastor at First Community AME Church in Grand Rapids is leading the charge to get safe bottled water from here to Benton Harbor. The water collection started last week and so far they have collected around 20 cases and gallons.

“There is a crisis affecting all populations, but especially brown and black communities, and we cannot afford to wait any longer,” said Rev. Dr Gholston.

Anyone interested in donating a case of bottled water or a gallon of water can visit First Community AME Church, 500 James Ave. SE, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. during the work week or call (616) 459-0151 to make an appointment. .

The church is teaming up with the Grand Rapids African-American Health Institute, and drop-offs can be made at 500 Lafayette Ave. NE between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

“There is never enough (water),” said Reverend Dr Gholston. “Okay, we don’t know how long this crisis is going to last, and we don’t want a body to be in need.”

GRAAHI is coming together as an advocate for the well-being of all, and operations director Mikisha Plesco says it’s more than just a drink of water.

“It absolutely affects your health,” she says. “It affects the way you are going to live going to school, being able to take care of your little ones if you have them at home, and also the elderly population.”

It’s an effort they hope to reach especially underserved communities.

“They are hit harder, because of some of the other disparities that are happening,” Plesco said. “But what I know, according to Benton Harbor, there is a lot of community support, community leaders, churches, and state and city agencies have helped make a difference not only for the immediate needs, but also for the future needs. “

Reverend Dr Gholston said after their first deposit on November 1, they plan to continue collecting water through November.

“Let’s just keep our hands open as we reach out and care for others in this time of crisis,” he says. “It’s good to know that you are not alone in this matter. “

Both organizations also receive cash donations to purchase water. To donate to the Church Cash App, search for “$ FCAME” and note that your donation is for water collection.

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