By Joi Thomas, Special to the AFRO
The Bible encourages us to take care of our fellow man. Hebrews 13:16 (NIV) states “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” On December 14, 2015, a state of emergency was declared in the city of Flint, Michigan due to the city’s water source being contaminated with dangerously high levels of lead.
For a while, this disaster was front and center in the media. Many news outlets covered the story and spoke of ways people could help. Now, the news cycle has mostly moved on, but the people of Flint are still in need. Zion Hill Baptist Church of Baltimore took on the task to do good and share with others and the church began a mission project to help the people of Flint.
Members of Zion Hill Baptist Church in Baltimore, and residents of Flint, Michigan unload cases of drinking water for the Michigan city whose water supply was poisoned with lead. (Courtesy Photo)
Rev. Dr. Douglas Logan has been pastor of Zion Hill for the past four years. “My interest stemmed from the lack of poor water quality given to the residents of Flint. After the water crisis was discussed during the campaign of 2016 and hearing about the lead poisoning of children through the water, I was interested but would not move to help until media attention had ceased to deliver stories regularly,” Logan told the AFRO. “I believed once the media stopped talking about the crisis the need for water would become greater. Zion Hill began mission trips to Flint in 2016. Our most recent trip, July 6 through 8 was our third trip.”
In just three trips, Zion Hill has made a huge impact. To date, they have delivered 146,400 bottles of water. 81,400 of that total was given away on their most recent trip this month. They have been able to help over 1,000 families, and Logan emphasizes that they seek to do even more. “Our hope is to go back to Flint as soon as possible. We hope to deliver a half million bottles of water before we conclude our mission,” said Logan. “We have begun raising the capital to purchase another 80,000 bottles of water (which is the equivalent of two full tractor trailers). We hope to accomplish this before it gets too cold and no later than early spring 2019.”
Many churches in the city partnered with Zion Hill to help them accomplish their goal. Even though their mission team is composed mainly of Zion Hill members, others are invited to join them on the mission field passing out water.
Logan noticed this year that the need for clean water is increasing. “This year we saw the need greater than the last two years. During previous trips there were other organizations, and the state was distributing water in the city. It took us about 5-6 hours to give away 30,000 bottles (2016), and 35,000 bottles (2017),” Logan said. “This year the water has stopped being distributed by the state and only a few local churches and organizations give away water regularly. This year we were greeted with long lines of cars waiting for us to begin our distribution. On July 6, we distributed 20 pallets, 960 cases of water, in about 90 minutes. On July 7, we distributed 22 pallets, (1075 cases of water in 2 hours). We ran out of water before we ran out of cars.”
Zion Hill Baptist Church is doing its part to minister to others in Baltimore through their annual community cookout, distributing food to those in need here, as well as in Flint, Michigan. For more information on how you can help this church email Pastor Logan firstname.lastname@example.org, call the church (410) 685-4766 or go to their church Facebook page facebook.com/ZionHillBapt/