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Michigan State athletes help out in Flint

Kyla Smith
The Detroit News

Flint — Student athletes from Michigan State University will. And they did by proving their motto by helping out in Flint.

In partnership with Schupan Recycling, Republic Services and the Michigan Community Service Commission, a group of 30 student athletes decked out in green and white helped distribute cases of water and collect empty bottles Friday afternoon in the parking lot of the Northwest Shopping Center off West Pierson.

When Keith Mumphery, an MSU alumnus and wide receiver for the Houston Texans, found out MSU would be in Flint on Friday, he jumped at the opportunity to help.

"I always did a lot of community service when I was at State. Flint needs our help right now," Mumphery said. "It's a blessing that I can be here and help uplift the city's spirit by giving back."

MSU athletes will help pass out water provided by the state and collect plastic bottles from noon to 4 p.m. for three Saturdays starting Feb. 13.

Troy Lincomfelt, director of Michigan operations of Schupan Recycling, was happy when he received a phone call from MSU’s athletic department offering to help.

"We have always supported MSU over the years, and we are pleased they took time out to come down to Flint and help," Lincomfelt said. "During this crisis, recycling has become a major issue. So far, the community is doing a great job with it, but there is still room for improvement."

To give an idea of how much plastic is being recycled, Lincomfelt said if 244,000 cases of water are distributed, that leaves 250,000 pounds of plastic. In two months, that can total up to 700,000 pounds.

Before noon Friday, two lines of vehicles snaked around the parking lot as people waited for water. After placing a case in each vehicle, the athletes cheered "Go green! Go white!"

Alicia Evans, 23, a senior who competes in track and field, said she will do whatever she can to help the residents of Flint.

"I grew up in Jamaica, so I have seen first hand what people that don't have the proper resources go through," Evans said. "I always saw my mom help people, and I want to do the same. I'm happy to help in any way that I can."

Paul Schager, executive associate athletic director for external relations at MSU, hopes people are inspired to get involved.

"Student athletes are the most visible, and seeing them take part in recycling and passing out water, spreads a good message to our fans and the community," Schager said. "It's a mindset you learn at MSU. Kind acts of service and giving. It's the Spartan way."

Spartan fan Yvonne Morrow dropped off two huge bags of empty bottles before collecting a case of water.

"This is hard. Really hard. I'm here to get water for me and my two German shepherds. They go through tons of water," Morrow said. "I'm really glad State came out here today, but they get to leave in a few hours, and we have to stay here."