Inspired to help those affected by the water crisis in Flint, MI, Saint Leo University’s Gainesville Education Center was “flooded” in recent weeks with donations of bottled water.
A state of emergency was declared in the northern city in January 2016 by the governor and later by President Barack Obama. Problems began when the city started using the Flint River as its water source in April 2014. The drinking water was compromised and a series of problems culminated with
lead contamination, which created a serious public health danger.
Wanting to provide clean drinking water for residents of Flint, social work student Randi Hutchinson initiated the project to collect water at the Gaines- ville Education Center’s Magnolia Parke location at 4650 N.W. 39th Place, Suite B.
Numerous churches, Loften High School, community members, and businesses as well as Saint Leo students, faculty, and staff were a vital part of making this drive such a success. Thanks to the assistance of Go Primal Fitness; Bif Sheffield, assistant director of the Gainesville center;
Charles Oden, assistant professor of management; Roman Taylor; and Ronald Wil- liams, more than 400 cases and multiple gallon jugs of water were loaded from the center on March 30.
The donated water was taken to Caldwell Manufacturing Co. in Alachua where the water was secured to nine pallets for shipping. On Friday, April 1, Schneider National, a trucking company, generously undertook the remain- ing step of the project by transporting the water north.
“I am happy to announce the water has been received by the Foodbank of Eastern Michigan where it will be distributed to the local community in Flint,” Sheffield said. “None of this could have been possible without the inspiration of one student and the generosity of so many individuals and
organizations. This was truly an exceptional example of Saint Leo Univer- sity’s core values.”
As part of the Catholic university’s core values it asks students, faculty, and staff to serve the community in which they live, welcome others into their lives, and care for all of God’s creations. The water donation project isjust one example of the university’s commitment to serving others.