Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Memphis Announces Initiative to Send Donations to Flint, Michigan

Photos: Garrett Pilgrim
Photo: Amanda Hill

Photo: Amanda Hill

Ways to help:

  • To help the water relief effort in Flint, Michigan directly go here or here to donate online.
  • Join Memphis’ grassroots movement (#Memphis4Flint) to continue to meet the call to action. 
  • Individuals in Memphis wishing to make donations can drop off supplies at the Tri-State Defender offices in downtown Memphis at 203 Beale Street, Suite 200 until 4:30pm on Feb 2nd, or at other partner locations: Bowden Internal Medicine (1652 Madison Ave) and South Main Sounds (550 South Main St)
  • Other Memphians are taking donations of bottled water and will be taking deliveries to Flint, MI  on 2/20 here.


The Tri-State Defender has announced that they are partnering with the City of Memphis, FedEx, and MLGW to send 12,000 bottles of water to residents in Flint, MI who can’t use their city’s water supply due to lead contamination. The water will be sent to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, according to Ursula Madden, Chief Communications Officer for the City of Memphis.

“When Bernal Smith of the Tri-State Defender called the city to ask if there was something we could do, this seemed like the most logical step,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “I’m grateful to MLGW President Jerry Collins Jr. and FedEx for responding so quickly, and I hope it will encourage others to act.”

Collins added, “We are fortunate to have clean drinking water in our city, and we believe that Flint residents will be able to recover as long as cities like ours continue to help.”

memphis water to flint michigan

Photo: Garrett Pilgrim

The water will be delivered via Fedex completely for free.

“FedEx is committed to helping the citizens of Flint, Mich. who are affected by the water crisis,” said Neil Gibson, FedEx Services Vice President of corporate communications. “Working together with The Water Source and MLGW, we are mobilizing our transportation network to deliver 12,000 bottles of water to those in critical need.”

The water crisis started in April 2014 when the financially strapped city switched its source of water to the Flint River. Previously, the city bought its water from nearby Detroit. The Flint River water was so highly corrosive that it damaged the lead pipes that it flowed through. 

memphis water to flint michigan

Photo: Garrett Pilgrim

When The New Tri-State Defender’s Publisher/CEO Bernal E. Smith II saw Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s emotional plea on the news, he felt called to act.

“I saw her appeal. It was very genuine, sincere and emotional,” Smith said. “I’d like to think that Memphis is known as a giving city. And we’re also known for the quality of our water, from deep aquifers, some of the best water in the country. It got me thinking, ‘Hey, these folks are in need. We should do something.’”

“I would hope that if Memphis was suffering like Flint, other cities would reach out to us as well,” he said.


Officials from the City of Memphis, MLGW, FedEx and the TSD made the official announcement to the media about this effort at MLGW headquarters on Tuesday. You can watch that press conference below.

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