A desire to help elderly and disabled locals brought some residents to form a new group in town: Urbana Ohio Helping Hands.
And the group is now collecting water donations for Flint, Mich., through the month of February.
The Urbana Helping Hands group got started in January, group member Trent Spriggs said. They wanted to help people who needed it in town, providing assistance to elderly and disabled individuals. Their assistance ranges from shoveling driveways clear of snow to taking them meals. Right now, they are helping about 10 to 15 people in town.
“We are doing this to get our cause for the love of community out to the residents of Urbana,” he said.
The group decided to start a water collection drive for Flint after seeing how that city was struggling with lead poisoning. It also accepts donations of salt or other materials to help local residents, though they do not take monetary donations. They also take names of individuals who people in town think may need a little help.
“If it’s within our power, we’ll help whoever we can with whatever we can,” Spriggs said.
Water for Flint can be dropped off at the Urbana Police and Fire Divisions office at the municipal building, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Collection will continue through Feb. 23. On Feb. 24, a couple of Urbana Helping Hands volunteers will drive the water up to Flint, Spriggs said. They will likely stay for the day and try to help out however they can.
Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell said his office and the fire division were more than willing to donate space for the water collection. Water is being stored in a fire bay at the Fire Division until ready for transport to Michigan.
“When representatives of this organization approached us with the request to partner with them in their efforts to collect bottled water for the people facing challenges with unclean water in Flint, Mich., it was easy to get on board,” he said. “In Matthew 25, part of what he says is, ‘I was thirsty and you gave me drink.’ He ends that scripture with the words, ‘I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me.’ This effort by the Urbana Helping Hands organization is a great example of that scripture. We’re very happy to help them in this endeavor.”
Urbana Fire Chief Mark Keller said they were happy to help with the collection and storage of the water.
For more information, visit Urbana Ohio Helping Hands on Facebook or call Spriggs at 937-508-1971.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.