Private Initiative Ignites Flame of Real Change in Flint, Michigan
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The Flint, Michigan water scandal has been shaking up the lives of locals, putting their health in grave danger, and alerting the country to the dangers of too much government.
As private organizations like Walmart, Coke, Nestle, and Pepsi take steps to help Flint residents by delivering 6.5 million bottles of water to the city, free market advocates have been arguing that the private sector is the compassionate sector, while the state is often the originator of most of our problems.
Now, news about another private initiative in Flint is flooding social media websites, reminding us that the flame of change—and real hope—can only be ignited by the individual.
According to a GoFundMe page by the 7-year-old Isiah Britt from Virginia, kids at the Eisenhower Elementary School, a Flint facility, had become fearful of using the school water to wash their hands when they’d go to the bathroom. In order to make a real change and help the kids in Flint in a meaningful way, Britt decided to start a campaign. The goal? Buy enough hand sanitizer to everyone in his school.
Britt’s effort was celebrated by many who also helped by donating. Now, the 7-year-old has enough money to cover all schools in the city.
The GoFundMe page was created by the child and his mother on February 19 and it has raised over $10,000. On Saturday, the child announced on the page that both he and his mother had raised enough “to send hand sanitizer to every school in Flint!” He thanked the public and asked everyone to “keep going until all kids in Flint have clean hands!!”
The second-grader’s initial goal was to raise only $500 to buy twenty cases of hand sanitizer. But the campaign was so successful that a local news source in Virginia and Michigan decided to pick up the story.
The first shipment of hand sanitizer arrived at Eisenhower Elementary just a week into the fundraiser. Neithercut, Pierce, and Holmes Elementary Schools should be receiving their shipments in the near future.
During an interview with Richmond’s WTVR, Britt told the reporter he had never been happier. “That was the best day of my life,” the second-grader announced. “Trying to help a different school.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re small. It doesn’t mean you can’t do big things.”
According to Britt’s parents, the 7-year-old now has a new goal, which is to send hand sanitizer to daycare and women’s centers across Flint.
While Britt’s story is a moving one, it hasn’t been the only one to demonstrate the importance of private initiative in the face of crisis.
In January, Humanity First USA partnered with Detroit’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to donate 52,400 bottles of water to Flint residents impacted by the crisis. At least 104,800 bottles of clean water were gathered and delivered to two senior citizen homes, three churches, a local YMCA, and to the general Flint public. Many of the bottles were stored at the Salem Lutheran Church. Families in need of clear water were invited to stop by.
The organization still accepts water donations in Rochester Hills, Troy, and the Detroit Metropolitan area.