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Benton Harbor falling short of volunteers as water distribution continues

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 7:07 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - The city of Benton Harbor is in need of help as water distribution sites are beginning to fall short of volunteers.

Abundant Life Church, who also serve as a water distribution site in Benton Harbor, saw no more than six volunteers to help pass out 34 skids of water Monday afternoon.

However, a surprise to many, one of those volunteers was Michigan State Senator Kim LaSata. As a woman who grew up around Benton Harbor her entire life, LaSata says she felt it was her duty to help the very people she represents in the 21st District.

“I may be a state senator but I didn’t grow up in easy—I didn’t have an easy life growing up and so I know what it’s like to need something. And I know what it’s like right now to need help. So whatever I can do to help, I want to be here,” LaSata says.

While LaSata says she hopes to continue lending a helping hand, she isn’t the only prominent figure taking a stance for the area she grew up in.

Benton Harbor native Wilson Chandler, a former NBA player most know for his time as a member with the New York Knicks & Denver Nuggets, is continuing to help his hometown. On Sunday, a video by Commissioner Duane Seats shows Chandler and his own team of volunteers distributing cases of water at Abundant Life Church in Benton Harbor.

Benton Harbor Police Officer Reggie Gee, who volunteered on Monday, called Chandler’s willingness to help inspiring. Yet, Gee says being able to gather up volunteers consistently has been a challenge, especially as of late.

“We got 34 skids of water today with only maybe five to six volunteers and that’s a little rough on the volunteers as well,” Gee says.

Moving forward, Gee says folks can volunteer by going to United Way of Southwestern Michigan or by simply showing up to a water distribution site like Chandler did.

For those unable who are homebound or do not have access to transportation, there are plans being rolled out to get water delivered to residents who meet the above criteria. Nonetheless, one resident, who wanted remain nameless, tells 16 News Now has received nothing after waiting for one week.

“They said well we’re going to tell him that you’re homebound and this and that. But hey, I need water now! And then you going to tell me wait a couple of more days and if no one don’t bring you no water, call back. This is the second time I called. We need clean water. St. Joe got clean water. Why don’t we got clean water?”, the elderly man said.

Anyone experiencing a similar issue with home water delivery is encouraged to contact 211, which is available 24/7. Additional information regarding dates and locations for bottled water pick up can be found at Michigan.gov/MiLeadSafe.

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