Benton Harbor pastor helping residents get bottled water

NOW: Benton Harbor pastor helping residents get bottled water

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. --- A Benton Harbor pastor is doing what he can to help get bottled water to vulnerable residents amid the water crisis. Even driving across state lines to do so, as water comes back on after repairs to the water line break.

“It’s very important now than ever that we get water,” said Lila Scott, a senior who lives in Benton Harbor.

Scott received five cases of water from Pastor Maurice McAfee and some members of his congregation at New Bethel Baptist Church, who took two U-Haul trucks down to South Bend to pick up more nearly 2,000 cases of water for Benton Harbor residents.

“I’ve been trying to get, like I go to the various places where they get water but the line is so long by the time I get up there most of the time the water is gone,” said Scott.

“There was a need for seniors to get more water so we just came down to do our part,” added Pastor McAfee of New Bethel Baptist Church. “So that’s our mantra at the church is to make sure we take care of people that are least thought about at times.”

The church even used money out of their own pocket, teaming up with another local church, and Stanz Food Service in South Bend to get 500 cases of water, along with Martin’s Supermarket in South Bend and St. Joseph to get over 1,000 more cases at a discounted price.

“I made a phone call to Tony and my store manager Shawn and those guys made it happen,” said Mia McBride the Deli Manager at Martin’s.

“On Tuesday they told me what was going on. We researched what inventory was left up at SpartanNash up in Grand Rapids. We took a look at what was there and what we were available to do to help out," added Martin’s Grocery store manager Tony DeCloudt.

Pastor McAfee said they’ve already gotten calls about the distribution, and they anticipate many more.

“We are starting to receive some calls now from seniors, so we’re looking for the call volume to go up,” said Pastor McAfee.

“Being in those long lines and not sure if you’re going to get some water, and I’m really thankful for Reverend McAfee to come all the way out here to bring me some water. It’s really a blessing and I thank him for it,” added Scott.

Pastor McAfee said they’ll start go going door-to-door Friday morning around 11 am to distribute cases of bottled water, while working to spread the word beyond their church, to members of the community as well.

If you’re a senior looking to get on that distribution list you can call New Bethel Baptist Church at 269-927-309.

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