Louisville mayor and "water leaders" team up to assist Flint residents

Feb. 5, 2016
Goal is to raise at least $30,000 for children impacted by high levels of lead 

LOUISVILLE, KY, Feb. 5, 2016 -- Mayor Greg Fischer joined members of the Louisville Water Co. and its Foundation, Louisville MSD and WaterStep to launch a community-wide effort to provide funding for children in Flint, Michigan, who have been impacted by high levels of lead in their drinking water.

The campaign, "Show Some Love for the Children of Flint with No Strings Attached," centers on gathering shoes to raise money.

"Our community has already donated thousands of bottles and jugs of drinking water for the citizens of Flint as part of the West Louisville Urban Coalition donation drive," Mayor Fischer said. "Now, we're ready to help with the long-term needs of children impacted by the high levels of lead in drinking water. Louisville is a leader when it comes to water - from the quality of our drinking water, to our research, to our green infrastructure and more. It only makes sense that we help in this crisis."

Flint's issues with high levels of lead in its drinking water is a stark reminder of the importance of a safe supply of water and the role that government and a water utility plays in providing that service.

The "Flint Love" campaign will contribute to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint's Children's Health and Development Fund, created in January to assist children and families impacted by the water crisis.

Here's how it works: During the month of February, the city of Louisville, Louisville Water Foundation, MSD and WaterStep are asking for the community's help in filling a semi-truck with shoes. Used shoes of any size, style or condition are accepted. Typically, WaterStep sells the shoes to an exporter, and uses the proceeds to take safe drinking water systems around the world. But WaterStep will dedicate the proceeds from shoe collections this month for the Flint effort.

"We are asking schools, churches, businesses and individuals to host shoe drives and clean out lots of closets," said Mark Hogg, Founder and CEO of WaterStep. "We are hopeful that with the funds generated from collecting shoes combined with the community's donations, we will be able to reach our goal of $30,000 for the children in Flint."

WaterStep has more than 100 drop-off locations in the Louisville area. Groups can also bring their shoes to WaterStep, located at 625 Myrtle St., on Saturday, February 20 from 9 a.m. to noon during a community donation day.

Don't have shoes? Think dollars. The Louisville Water Foundation, the charitable arm of Louisville Water, is spearheading the community drive and accepting cash donations. Individuals can make an online donation, or by check, to LouisvilleWater.com/FlintLove through Feb. 29.

"Louisville Water recognizes that we're a lifeline to this community, and public health is at our core," said Spencer Bruce, interim President and CEO. "The Louisville Water Foundation is focused on water assistance, and we can't think of a better effort right now than helping children and families in Flint."

The Foundation will announce its own donation later this month. Louisville MSD was the first to contribute, with a $5,000 donation.

"MSD employees quickly jumped in to help last week with donations of bottles of water," said Tony Parrott, MSD's executive director. "A lot of us have family members in Flint and it is up to us to assist in any way to protect our children. "

The "Flint Love" campaign runs through Feb. 29. The groups will announce the total contribution to the Children's Health and Development Fund in early March.

About Louisville Water Co. & the Louisville Water Foundation
Louisville Water provides a safe, high-quality of drinking water to over 850,000 people in Louisville Metro and surrounding communities. Louisville Water began operations in October 1860 as Kentucky's first public water provider. The Louisville Water Foundation is the charitable arm of the company focused on providing water assistance and water education programs.

About WaterStep
WaterStep, headquartered in the United States, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that believes everyone should have access to safe water and that no one should suffer from waterborne illnesses. WaterStep implements water projects and equips people with tools and training in water purification, disaster relief, health education, and well repair. What was founded over 20 years ago as a small mission group trying to find the best way to help others, has grown to become an organization with global reach that has saved the lives of people in two dozen countries through its safe water projects. Since its founding in 1995, WaterStep has brought safe water to people in over 30 countries. To learn more, call (502) 568-6342 or visit waterstep.org.

About Louisville MSD
MSD manages wastewater, drainage and flood protection for Louisville Metro-24 hours a day, everyday of the year-to achieve safe, clean waterways for our community.

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