Three Connecticut men are trying to help the people in Flint, MI. who are dealing with a water crisis.
While carrying cases of water on Monday, Stratford resident Ricardo Murillo said it started out as a simple idea to help those in need.
"What really touched me was about the kids,” Murillo said. “Because I have my own, they said it they were six and under, could get irreversible brain damage."
But for Murillo, Norwalk resident Amir Khan and Stratford resident Benny Alicea, they said they never imagined their grassroots effort to bring bottled water from Connecticut to folks in Michigan would be as big as it has been.
"Companies have been reaching out to us, we got box truck donated,” Murillo said.
Two weekends ago, the trio made the trip to Michigan in a donated van. They had no address. They just put Flint in their GPS.
They drove 15 hours, coming across cars lined up at a firehouse. There, they dropped off their water, along with going door-to-door in neighborhoods, where tap water is off limits because of elevated levels of lead.
"What struck me was people with kids, standing in line, waiting for water after work, whatever they have to do to get water,” Khan said. “It’s a struggle out there, but they're trying to survive."
After just two hours, their water, which was 70 cases and 40 one gallon jugs, was all gone.
So they hopped in the van, and headed home with a plan to return later this month.
"As a community, it shows that we care for people in need,” Alicea said. “Because if we were in that situation, it would feel really good for someone to do that for us."
Thanks to social media, they said word about their water run spread. Now they have drop off locations in Bridgeport, Norwalk, New Haven, and Meriden.
At the Barber Club on Park Avenue, the water was piled high and at Mi Pueblo Restaurant on Main Street, cases of bottles filled a booth.
"Trying to lead by example, trying to help these people out because water is a necessity,” Murillo said.
These cases of water might just be a drop in the bucket, but through their actions, a Connecticut community is making ripple half way across the country.
"One lady got a little emotional, she even hugged us, tearing up,” Murillo said. “It was a beautiful thing, just to know that we can help the people in need. That's what we're trying to do."
The guys will be collecting water at a number of locations leading up to their second trip on Feb. 26.
Here are the water drop off locations:
To learn more about their GoFundMe account, click here.
Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.