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West Side Churches Donating Bottled Water To Flint, Michigan

CHICAGO (CBS) -- West Side ministers were joining the call for a criminal investigation of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, as volunteers loaded up hundreds of cases of bottled water for Flint.

"Our hearts are heavy, and we're hoping not only to take the water, but to lend our voices as advocates for this community" Rev. Marshall Hatch said.

The ministers admitted the 1,000 cases of bottled water being trucked to Flint, and more than 3,000 additional cases of bottled water to be purchased there with money raised in Chicago will be a drop in the bucket compared to the Michigan city's need for good, clean water.

Some children in Flint have tested positive for lead poisoning, which has been linked to learning problems, after improperly treated water lead from the city's water pipes, when a state-appointed emergency manager switched the city from Lake Huron water to Flint River water, which was highly polluted. Flint has since switched back to Lake Huron water provided by Detroit, but officials fear damaged pipes could still be leaching lead into water.

Several West Side churches have banded together to collect donations to provide clean drinking water for Flint.

"We look and we see the people there, and we see ourselves, and so it was an easy ask of people, and the people ponied up and made great sacrifices," Hatch said.


Hatch said the donations raised on the West Side show even people who have little are willing to sacrifice to help others.

"It really is a scene of a crime. We look at 20, and 30, and 40 years from now we'll still be talking about Flint; because we've actually had babies who have been poisoned, and whose development will be arrested," he said.

Rev. Ira Acree said it breaks his heart youngsters in Flint could have been poisoned by lead in their drinking water.

"There could possibly be permanent brain damage to some of the children," he said.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has named a former prosecutor to investigate the process that led to the Flint water crisis.

Hatch and Acree said what happened in Flint is a crime.

"We're going to make the case so that they could be heard, and so that heads will roll. This should never happen in a civilized society, where people are drinking water that has been lead poisoned. It's a shame. It's an atrocity," Acree said.

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