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03/29/2016

AT&T Launches Text-to-Donate Service for Flint Water Crisis

 

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AT&T recently announced a new text-to-give campaign benefiting the children of the Flint water crisis. The water crisis occurred when the state of Michigan switched Flint's water source from Detroit's system to the Flint River to reduce costs. Residents subsequently ingested high amounts of lead, with many claiming developmental disabilities in their children. Seven families have filed a class-action lawsuit against Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. The lawsuit names several other city and state officials. 

 

The Long Wait

According to sources, water from Flint taps “smelled and tasted strange,” though residents had to wait over a year for testing. In their lawsuit, residents cite the Safe Drinking Water Act, a federal law that outlines rules and regulations concerning safe drinking water all over the country. The law was put in place by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Democratic presidential nominees Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have both spoken out about the Flint water crisis, though Republican nominees have mostly stayed mute on the issue. President Obama approved federal funding for Flint earlier this year.

The class-action suit was filed on behalf of Flint’s tens of thousands of residents, who claim their children are suffering from health issues such as seizures, language problems, weight loss, stunted growth, anemia, headaches, abdominal pain, learning problems, mental and emotional stress, and more. Other issues stemming from the water crisis include property damage, water service line destruction, medical/educational/rehabilitation expenses, loss of income and earning capacity, and devaluation of property damages. 

The suit was filed by attorneys Hunter Shkolnik and Adam Slater, who say Governor Snyder and his associates acted in a negligent, reckless manner, as they were aware of the problem in 2014 but did nothing about it. Complaints concerning strange illnesses and rashes began in 2015.

 

Simply Sending a Text

Helping residents of Flint is as simple as sending a text message. Those who wish to donate can text ‘FLINT’ to 27722 to make a $10 donation to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. Donations are added to the sender’s monthly wireless bill.  

 

A Large Contribution

In January of this year, AT&T donated $50,000 to the development fund. Kathi Horton, President of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, noted how grateful the community is to AT&T for its continued support. AT&T has also created a YourCause employee contribution page so their employees from all over the world can help families struggling in the wake of this crisis. 

Jim Murray, the President of AT&T Michigan, remarked that AT&T is committed to helping the families in Flint and acknowledged mobile technology for helping people stay connected. He said that the texting campaign went a step further by allowing people to help each other. 

Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley noted that the generosity of residents during the water crisis has been a “testament” to the character and resilience of families in the community and the state at large.  

 

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