With numerous people and topics vying for my attention, my monthly magazine subscriptions are piling up. However, I made sure to set aside time when my TIME subscription arrived that featured Josh Sanburn’s cover feature about the lead contamination of Flint, Mich.’s water supply.
Although Sanburn provided a detailed timeline of how the Flint water crisis emanated, there still will be more to discover and learn from this story. As the conclusion of this crisis remains unknown, many organizations are helping the metropolitan city in its time of need. Among the industries that have stepped up is the beverage market.
In early February, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) noted that its members continue to respond to the water crisis that is affecting the 100,000 families of Flint. So far, IBWA member companies, including Absopure, Flint Culligan, Maumee Valley Bottlers, Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) and Niagara, have donated the equivalent of 1.5 million bottles of water, it says.
“IBWA has also offered its assistance to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver,” said Joe Doss, IBWA president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Our continuing efforts are focused on helping provide Flint residents impacted by the lead-contaminated public water supply with reliable access to safe drinking water. Safe, clean drinking water is important to everyone’s survival, but [if] public water supplies are compromised, bottled water is a necessary, vital and reliable source of clean, safe drinking water.”
Beverage manufacturers also are working with retailers to drive this mission. At the end of January, Wal-Mart, in conjunction with The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo and NWNA, stated that it will offer support to Flint by providing as much as 6.5 million bottles of water to approximately 10,000 public school students.
Additionally, the retailer and beverage-makers are encouraging people to support those affected in Flint by working with Good360, a nonprofit that connects companies that have goods with nonprofits and individuals in need.
Donations also have come from the alcohol space. Anheuser-Busch’s Cartersville, Ga., brewery sent a truck loaded with water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. The shipment contained 2,156 cases, or 51,744 cans, of emergency drinking water for Flint residents.
Entrepreneurial operations have stepped up their efforts as well. Aquahydrate has pledged 1 million bottles of water with a long-term commitment to Flint. Company executives Mark Wahlberg and Sean “Diddy” Combs also urged high-profile friends to join them in their cause with donations and raising public awareness of the Flint water crisis. Musician Eminem, a nearby Detroit area resident, and hip-hop artist Wiz Khalifa already joined the effort and together pledged to continue to deliver Aquahydrate until this crisis is over.
When disaster hits, it’s wonderful to see so many in the beverage market coming to help those in need.