Friday’s nasty weather didn’t stop a group of determined individuals from ensuring that hundreds of cases of water made it to Sanford on the way to its final destination in Flint, Mich.
“We are on the way to Fayetteville now,” an excited Rev. Bernard Spates said late Friday, even as a wintry mix was coming down in Sampson and surrounding counties. “We were getting calls from everybody (about the outreach). It was just great.”
Spates serves as 2nd Vice Moderator for Western Union Missionary Baptist Association and associate minister at Big Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Sampson, where the water was collected and loaded into a Sanford-bound truck as freezing rain poured early Friday afternoon.
The Rev. Jace Cox, pastor at Liberty Praise Center in Sanford, spearheaded the project for Flint, an outreach through which water was collected from dozens upon dozens of sites throughout the region, collected in Sanford and trucked up to Flint. Spates brought it up to his association and they immediately and unanimously jumped on board.
The culmination of that effort came on Friday, when the Western Union Missionary Baptist Association delivered around 450 cases of water, along with 60 cases of wet wipes and another 65 individual packs of wipes.
David Bryant, who owns D.E. Bryant trucking company out of Roseboro, is a member of the Western Union Missionary Baptist Association and volunteered his time and trailer so that the water could be taken to Sanford to get on the next truck to Michigan. The truck was left there overnight Friday to be unloaded by a group of workers who were gathering water from everywhere.
Flint is under a state of emergency because of lead-tainted water. The city’s water supply was switched from the Detroit system to the Flint River as a cost-saving measure in 2014, when Flint was under state emergency financial management. It was an interim measure while a new pipeline to Lake Huron is being built.
But the improperly treated river water caused lead to leach from old pipes, believed to be the cause of disease and nine lost lives.
Western Union includes 15 Missionary Baptist churches in the Sampson community. Their effort began less than two weeks ago, joining many other associations in the region in teaming with Liberty Praise Center as part of a huge effort to bring clean bottled water and wet wipes to the people of Flint, Mich.
Cox was overwhelmed at the outpouring of generosity. So were those in Sampson County who collected water from churches in Western Union Missionary Baptist Association, as well as from individuals and those outside the association.
“It was awesome to see people donating,” said Bernard’s wife Pamela Spates, who noted that Western Union’s donation was added to a significant haul from other area associations. “(Cox) said there was just such an outpouring. I asked if I could go in and take some pictures and I don’t think I even saw all of it. It was stacked so high.”
“It was great to know we could be a part of the cause,” she said.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.