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Credit Unions Offer Support as Flint Water Crisis Continues

Flint-area credit unions are helping reward residents who have been complying with state water-testing requirements. (Kemecki/morguefile)
Flint-area credit unions are helping reward residents who have been complying with state water-testing requirements. (Kemecki/morguefile)
April 20, 2016

FLINT, Mich. - The safety of the water supply in Flint is still very much an issue, and local credit unions want to make sure the people of Flint and their plight are not forgotten.

In addition to bottled-water drives, several credit unions in the Flint area recently donated $50,000 worth of gift cards to community members who are working with the state to monitor lead levels in their home water systems. Burton-based ELGA Credit Union, which has branches in Flint, was part of that effort.

"I am concerned about what happens when the headlines are no longer focused on the people in the Flint area," said Karen Church, ELGA's chief executive. "What happens to our residents then? What happens to these children then? Credit unions will step up and help in the best way possible."

The gift cards will go to families living in homes the state designated as "sentinel sites," Church said, many of which are known to have lead service lines, or places where kids' blood tests have shown high lead levels. Water collected from these sites is tested regularly to help determine when it is suitable for consumption.

While the water crisis has created a feeling of helplessness for many in the city, Church said, it also has demonstrated the resilience of the people of Flint.

"They continue to rise and want to make their city a great city," she said. "And when you see help coming from all over the state, the country and even the world, it is refreshing to know that people still care and love each other."

The need for donations of bottled water and other supplies probably will continue well into the future, Church said. The Red Cross and United Way continue to collect water, and Church said her credit union is working closely with the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. That group has established several funds to improve health outcomes for those affected by the contaminated water.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI