This post is long overdue and I’ve been letting it sit with me because I simply do not know where to begin.
I’ll start with Michael Hood and Laurie Carpenter, the co-directors of Crossing Water. They saw a huge, gapping hole need in the city of Flint that went way beyond giving out pallets of bottled water and they rose to the occasion by forming this non-profit group.
They organised teams of social workers and other professionals to make home visits to assure that residents have filters fitted on their taps, educate residents on the proper use of filters, and address any other needs that these families may have. In this way, the volunteers are able to help residents get the services they need to ameliorate the damage done, not only from the contaminated water, but from years of economic neglect and government indifference to the plight of Flint, once a booming industrial city.
During my short time with Crossing Water, I saw these wonderful people arrange for furniture deliveries, dental care, medical assistance, and plumbers to go into the homes of some families and correct bad plumbing and fix broken taps. Heroes all.
Here’s the second part of my post: I knew Michael way back when, in the old university days when we were just kids trying to navigate our way through adolescence and early adulthood. We were so young and confused and scared back then but we somehow made it into our 50’s without too much scorched earth.
We reconnected awhile back right here on Dragonlane and while I was home over the winter months, we finally met up at a diner in Flint and we talked and talked and talked. Then we took his dogs for a walk and talked some more.
I’m so proud of my friend, Michael. That he’s now a social worker, doing the work of the people, does not surprise me. He always had a way of bringing people together and making everyone feel understood and counted.
It’s hard, hard work — underpaid (or not paid at all), and undervalued. I want to acknowledge it here, on my tiny blog, in my own way. And if you can, and you live in or around Flint, contact Crossing Water for volunteer opportunities.