February 8, 2016
It’s been a hard few years for the city of Flint, Mich. In April 2014, after the community’s water source switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River, water pipes eroded and lead seeped into the water supply. The residents of Genesee County (including thousands of children) were exposed to toxic lead levels in the drinking water and are now at risk for serious health problems. Public health officials declared a State of Emergency in January.
To help weather the immediate crisis, Target sent eight trucks filled with more than 300,000 bottles of water to the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. The donations were distributed to residents dealing with the unsafe tap water, to be used for everything from drinking and cooking to bathing and brushing teeth.
With the water donations tiding them over for the moment, committees in Flint are now on the hunt for long-term, sustainable solutions to decontaminate the city’s water supply. But replacing all the affected pipes will be a long and costly process.
To help the Flint community make it through, Target is teaming up with our friends at some of the country’s leading water filtration companies to support new filtration systems for the residents. These systems are certified by the National Sanitation Foundation to remove lead as the water filters through. Target will donate 5,000 PUR faucet mount filters and 5,000 Zerowater pitcher filters to the United Way Worldwide of Genesee County, to be distributed to impacted residents through the United Way’s extensive network of partners. Zerowater is matching our gift with 5,000 additional units through their “Filters for Flint” program, bringing the total donation to 15,000 filters.
“We’re so grateful to Target and Zerowater for the donation,” says Jamie Gaskin, CEO, United Way Worldwide of Genesee County. “The water filters will help so many families stay in their homes, keep going to school and live normal lives while the city works to fix the water problem.”
We also know that nutrition can play a major role in keeping Flint community members healthy. Foods high in iron, calcium and Vitamin C help reduce the amount of lead absorbed in the body—import for many reasons, but especially for children whose bodies are still developing. So in addition, as we continue our support for community wellness, Target is donating $75,000 to Genesee Intermediate School District to increase the amount of nutrient-dense foods—such as fruits and veggies with high concentrations of vitamins—for Flint students.
Our team members in the area want to lend a helping hand too, and are working with local organizations to volunteer by helping with the inventory management and distribution of donations.
“All children and families deserve clean water and nutritious food,” says Laysha Ward, chief CSR officer, Target. “The Target team is proud to help provide residents of Flint with resources to help them keep their families healthy and strong.”
The donations are just one way Target supports the health and safety of communities where we do business. Learn more about our community support and engagement.
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