On April 4, Hattiesburg community members gathered to support Flint, Michigan by kicking off the Give back, Get a Stack fundraiser at Brewsky’s.
The water crisis that has affected the Flint area arose from a contamination issue that began in 2014. Flint now faces lead contamination that creates a public health concern to nearly 10,000 children.
“I believe that when anyone is in the time of need we should all ban together as brothers and sisters and help each other out,” said Darryl Harris, the event’s committee chairman. “When we had the tornados, people were here to help us out. When we had the floods, people were here for Mississippi.”
The Give Back, Get a Stack fundraiser, an initiative to raise $56,000 by the end of the month, was organized to provide 1,000 water filters to the victims of Flint, Michigan.
“Just because they’re in Michigan doesn’t mean we can’t step in and help out,” Harris said.
April 4 night started the fundraising efforts to reach the goal of the committee this month.
Not only are the volunteers providing year’s supply of water filters to the victims, but several organizations associated with the committee are set to travel to Flint. These organizations will visit homes and continue to provide assistance within the affected communities.
This initiative was called by Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, who was inspired by latest support given to Mississippi from other states during times of severe weather.
“That’s what we do in Mississippi,” DuPree said to WDAM. “We help other people out. I think we do it better than anybody else in the United States. At the same time, other people come to help us out. So we pay it forward.”
The water filter was developed as a temporary measure until the city of Flint can recuperate. Instead of recycling and handpicking water bottles, the committee chose to go another route.
“We’re not just providing fresh drinking water or bottled water, but filters that they can bathe in, cook with and more that’ll last for an entire year,” DuPree told WDAM news.
Along with the hopes of obtaining enough funds to purchase 1,000 water filters, adjoined companies will match the amount raised this month with an additional 1,000 filters.
Volunteers and committee members will travel at their own expense as a mission trip to distribute the filters door to door.
“The purpose of this fundraiser is to spread the word,” said Administrative Assistant of the Mayor Darnelle Larremore. “It is to make people aware of what we are doing and what we hope to accomplish.”
The Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation will accept donations through contact with HattiesburgMS.com or by visiting the fundraising events planned for upcoming weeks.