Empowering and Mobilizing Volunteers to Support Children and Families Affected by the Flint Water Crisis Benefiting Points of Light's Disaster Response and Recovery Services
The water crisis in Flint, Mich. continues to affect the lives, health and well-being of citizens across the city. Points of Light 2016 Mission in Flint is to support local disaster response and recovery efforts by recruiting, training and mobilizing volunteers.
Volunteers are the energy powering the response in Flint. Between now and the end of June, when we will hold our annual Conference on Volunteering and Service in nearby Detroit, Points of Light is raising funds to bolster the impact of volunteers in Flint.
Your donation will allow us to build the capacity and expand the manpower of local community organizations working on solutions to address the immediate needs and longer term challenges posed by the water crisis and the consequences of lead poisoning. Despite the gravity of the challenges, Flint’s residents have rallied to usher in their recovery.
Working alongside the federal government, state agencies, city officials and local nonprofit organizations addressing the crisis, Points of Light also has been actively contributing our expertise in volunteer mobilization and management.
Together, Points of Light and Flint volunteers are now, and will continue to:
- Deliver safe, free bottled water for drinking, cooking and bathing
- Manage distribution hubs for free water and food
- Staff help centers that provide resources to community members
- Provide counseling and case management services to people in need
- Supplement efforts in local schools in addressing the learning disabilities and delays caused by the lead exposure
Funds will be collected until June 29, 2016. Please consider giving today to:
$25 - Staff a volunteer as part of a water and food distribution center
$100 - Staff volunteers at a local Food Bank to help distribute donated food to the community
$500 - Create and disperse education materials as part of a classroom education series at Flint elementary schools
Flint Water Crisis Background
Beginning in January 2016, the ‘water crisis’ in Flint, Mich. has garnered nationwide attention after the acknowledgement that the water flowing from Flint’s taps was not just unusable, it was dangerous. Flint residents were exposed to and consumed water with dangerous levels of lead and other contaminants. And while the stories have been front page news for months, the underlying problems stretch back years.
In 2014 the Flint government faced serious budget constraints. To save money the city switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Water from the Flint River was extremely caustic and corroded the city’s water supply lines. Very quickly, lead began to leach into the water, flow from taps across the city and affect the health of residents. Although state and local leaders for months denied problems with the water, the crisis finally broke into the open in October 2015, with an official state and federal emergency declared in January 2016.
Studies of the impact of lead poisoning in adults indicate even low-level exposure can harm the heart, brain, kidneys, and reproductive system and may contribute to seizures, hearing loss, impairment of cognitive functions (including memory), and the development of Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS). In children, the consequences are even more serious as lead poisoning impacts their rapidly developing brains. Exposure to lead can cause permanent problems that affect behavior, attention, hearing, IQ, and learning; it also can slow a child's growth.
Points of Light's Conference on Volunteering and Service is the largest service-related gathering of volunteer, national service and civic leaders in the world. Each year, thousands of people who care about the future of volunteer service convene in one place – to learn from, share with and get inspired by one another – working together to increase the number of volunteers in the world and the impact of the work they do.
The 2016 conference will be held June 27-29 in Detroit. The 2015 conference, which marked the 25th anniversary of Points of Light, was held Oct. 19-21 in Houston. See 2015 highlights here.
Make plans to join us as we work together to help 21st century volunteers use all their assets – time, talent, voice and money – to build strong, vibrant communities around the world. Join us as we celebrate and shape the future of volunteerism!