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Following the discovery of lead-contaminated water in Flint, Mich., grocers have been among the companies to help residents gain access to safe, clean drinking water.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in partnership with beverage powerhouses Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo, has pledged to donate water to meet the daily needs of more than 10,000 Flint schoolchildren for the remainder of the calendar year. According to the mega-retailer, that equates to 176 truckloads, or as many as 6.5 million bottles of water, to aid relief efforts.
Along with the water donation, the companies are urging others to help Flint by working with Good360, where nonprofits operating in the city are listing their needs online. All donations made via the Good360 website will go directly to local organizations serving the community.
“The water crisis is personal to us here in Flint,” said Beth Harris, a Walmart store manager in the city. “Those affected include our own associates, customers and their families.”
“At Walmart, we take pride in using our strengths to help communities like Flint during times of crisis, as we’ve done around the world in times of need,” noted Dan Bartlett, EVP of corporate affairs for Walmart. “We’re working to ensure that the children of Flint, the city’s most vulnerable citizens, have access to safe water.”
Walmart has already provided 14 trucks of water, or 504,000 bottles, and 1,792 water filters to Flint since July 2015, while Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has donated almost 78,720 bottles of Dasani to local food banks and foundations and to about 40 associates living in the affected area. Nestlé Waters North America has already given five truckloads, or more than 190,000 bottles, to Flint community organizations since October 2015.
Hitting Closer to Home
As for grocers based nearer to the affected area, SpartanNash is giving customers at all 91 Michigan D&W, Family Fare, VG’s, ValuLand and Forest Hills Foods stores and Fuel Centers the opportunity to make a cash register donation of $2.99 toward a 24-pack case of Spartan brand bottled water to aid those in Flint, with product going to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. The water drive runs through Feb. 13.
As of Feb. 9, SpartanNash announced that more than 1 million bottles of water have been contributed to Flint families, equating to more than 26 semi-loads of water.
“We have been working since last fall to help our neighbors in Flint,” said Meredith Gremel, SpartanNash’s VP, corporate affairs and communications. “Michiganders take pride in their state and watch out for each other. We have had customers and associates asking us how they can help and send water with our donations. With the scan, we make it easy and even do the heavy lifting — we also deliver as needed to facilitate distribution for our community partners.”