Photo via Steven Depolo/Flickr
When news of a water crisis in Flint, Mich. broke, Erin Hutt and Vanity Constance of Wilmington sprang into action. In three days, the two collected donations from all over Wilmington that totaled over 333 gallons of water, 51 bottles of hand sanitizer, 25 packs of Lysol wipes and 11,789 baby wipes. With a van full of supplies, they hit the road to help the people of Flint.
A public health state of emergency was declared in Flint mid-January after the city’s drinking water situation continued to deteriorate. Lead contamination has made the water undrinkable, leaving residents with only two options: buy bottled water or go thirsty.
“It was eye-opening. […] I learned a valuable lesson: Stay involved in your local community. Know who your city councilors are. Know where the money is going,” says Constance. “This could happen in our own community.”
Both Hutt and Constance are no strangers to helping others. Hutt works with Chains Inc., an organization that motivates and supports Delaware’s youth, and Constance is on the West Side Grows team, working to improve Wilmington’s neighborhoods with revitalization, beautification and beyond. Wilmington is about a 10-hour drive from Flint, but for Delawareans like Hutt and Constance, distance wasn’t an excuse not to help.
Left, Vanity Constance. Far right, Erin Hutt.
How can you help?
The American Red Cross has volunteers on the ground in Flint testing water and distributing water filters and bottled water. Donate at www.redcross.org/donate/donation.
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Sepia Cleaners on 336 S. Heald St. in Wilmington is one convenient collection spot for water in Delaware. Drop off jugs of water, cases of bottled water and water filter kits before Feb. 12.
Write to your congressman or senator to urge them to pass legislation to help Flint’s water crisis and prevent future water contamination.
Or follow in Hutt and Constance’s footsteps—grab some friends, ask local organizations for donations of water, baby wipes and water filters, and head to Flint.