Residents of Flint, Michigan have been without clean, safe drinking water for nearly four years, and although the problem has improved since 2014, it will likely take several additional years before it is fixed completely.
With that in mind, father-son duo Will and Jaden Smith have decided to step in and help. Fortuitously, the pair happen to own an eco-friendly water company called Just Water, and have said they will donate water through the company to Flint on a monthly basis until lead levels in the water at Flint public schools are below the federal threshold. According to MLive.com, this is in addition to the 9,200 bottles of water Just Water has already donated to Flint.
As Just Water CEO Ira Laufer told the outlet, the donation was a "no-brainer" for the famous family.
"This just makes sense for us to do," Laufer added. "Jada Smith has visited Flint and met with the mayor. Flint is very dear to her heart. ... After reading more about [Flint's] challenges and the mayor objecting to pulling bottled water from the schools, we thought 'Let's help these kids.'"
The Detroit News notes that although officials in Michigan found 98.5 percent of locations sampled late last year were at or below the 15 parts per billion federal threshold for lead, four Flint schools still had elevated lead levels in water.
That's likely why Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has gone on record to say the state should continue supplying bottled water to the city until all lead and galvanized services lines in the city have been replaced. "I feel even stronger about this position after recent water test results from Flint schools, provided by [the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality] showed results where lead levels were above the level recommended by the medical community of five [parts per billion], as well as the Lead and Copper Rule action level of 15 parts per billion," Weaver explained, via a separate MLive article.
To get the clean water ball rolling, The Root reports Just Water sent four pallets of water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan on March 1.
In response to the donation, Food Bank vice president of development Cathy Blankenship said, "It's always generous that people are still thinking about Flint."
In addition to providing much needed sustenance to the people of Flint, Just Water is eco-conscious as well. According to the company's website, all of the bottles are made out of paper and plant-based plastic, resulting in a 74 percent reduction in carbon emissions compared to a standard plastic bottle. Props to the Smith family for helping the people of Flint and being environmentally conscious in the process!
Cover image via Shutterstock / Debby Wong.