AquaTru and Its Parent Company, Ideal Living, Help Flint Residents Access Clean Drinking Water
Years after the start of the lead water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, the community still struggles to access clean, safe water.
At the height of the crisis, studies showed that more than 40 percent of Flint’s water measured above 5 ppb of lead, considered an indication of a very serious problem. More alarmingly, findings reported by area pediatricians showed that the incidence of elevated blood-lead level in children citywide had doubled and nearly tripled in some neighborhoods. Nearly 9,000 children were ingesting lead-contaminated water for 18 months, which can result in lead poisoning as well as high blood pressure, kidney damage, slowed growth and lower IQ, hyperactivity and other developmental issues.
Our employees saw a way to help: AquaTru’s reverse osmosis countertop water purifier is certified to NSF standards to remove 83 contaminants, including more than 99% of lead. We could be part of the solution.
Through a partnership with Pastor Derrick Aldridge of Second Chance Church, we donated $25,000 worth of AquaTru water purifiers to the families most in need.
We recently took time to follow up and speak with Pastor Aldridge about the Flint community and the critical importance of clean and safe water for all.
How long have you been in the Flint community?
Derrick Aldridge: I was born and raised in Flint, and I have lived here for 67 years. My father was a pastor at a church, which he founded in 1956. He was a community innovator – the church grew to more than 1,500 members. He then started one of the first credit unions here. My mother was the principal of a school here until she retired. After college, I wasn’t going to stay in Flint, but my mother convinced me to be a substitute teacher, and I have been active in the community ever since, succeeding my father in the ministry. I started Second Chance Church in 2006. It’s open to everyone and anyone.
How was the community impacted by poor water quality?
DA: We are one of the poorest communities in Michigan. Forty-five percent of our residents live below the poverty line. Simply put, our people are without hope. Poor water quality is but one of many aspects of our community’s health crisis – and it affects everything, from finances to family health. For us, it’s an everyday issue. Imagine turning your water on and not being able to drink it? I have 21 grandchildren and it breaks my heart to see them suffer.
What impact have the AquaTru products had on overall health?
DA: They have given people hope. AquaTru is a gift to our community right now. AquaTru cares about human life and quality of life. Nobody else came to us like they did and said, “We want to work with you; we want to help.”
What was the community’s reaction to the products?
Everyone who has received them has really appreciated them and seems to be doing much better. They were excited that they could enjoy clean water again. It’s so simple, but it’s such a profound need that is being met.
Why is clean water so important for you and the community?
DA: When you don’t have access to clean water, it becomes an economic issue. If you don’t have safe water at home, you have to decide whether you are going to buy bottled water, then heat it up to bathe. You have to make economic choices. When you are already living in an economically-depressed area that takes a real toll.
As a company, we remain committed to the Flint community, especially to those who are the most vulnerable to the damaging effects of lead.
Expanding access to pure water is at the heart of why we do what we do. By providing AquaTru water purifiers to individuals and community centers, our impact is compounded. Through our partnership with Pastor Aldridge, hundreds of people now have access to pure water and can begin to build healthier lives.
We extend our gratitude to our employees who brought this ethos to life through this effort in Flint and to Pastor Derrick Aldridge for his partnership.