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Walmart to bring water to Flint kids

Posted: 5:43 PM, Jan 26, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-27 09:56:51-05

For 20 years Walmart and its partners have been a part of the Flint community.

"Day in and day out, associates come to us, you know and talk about the needs," said Store Manager Beth Harris. "We're there for them. We're more than just the management team. We care about them."

That's why Walmart is working with other big name companies to meet those needs, by giving clean water to Flint schools.

"Every child when they go to school will have bottled water, and then we will work with other organizations during the summer months, the boys and girls club and others to make sure we have distribution points when school's out," said Dan Bartlett with Walmart.

The major retailer is partnering with Coca-Cola, Nestle, and PepsiCo to donate 6.5 million bottles of water.

"It's very personal," said George Hewitt, who's from Flint and now works for Nestle Water. "I mean whenever you have drinking water that you can't drink and the kids going to school, it's just really, it's something that you can't have in this country."

Local school districts say because of these donations, they don't have to worry about getting clean water to their students. Instead they can focus on the possible long term effects of the water crisis.

"Identifying early development delays or identifying some of those challenges that could be representing a lead exposure are the kinds of things we need to be prepared for," said Jerry Johnson with Genesee Intermediate School District.

"We can begin to partner with mothers from the time of birth until 14 months," said Bilal Tawwab with Flint Public Schools. "So there's a lot of systems we can put in place that can help sort of mitigate this crisis."

A crisis that goes beyond the need for clean water.

"Just thinking of the children being taken care of and knowing that they're going to have clean water and enough water is just as reassuring," said Harris. "Make you feel like you can focus somewhere else."

So they can work to solve other challenges in the city.

We're also seeing a growing number of celebrities helping out in Flint.

The latest is Motown recording artist Kem.

He's working with the salvation army to raise money for water, filters and other assistance.