Muslim group seeks volunteers for Flint water efforts

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The Michigan Muslim Community Council is calling for more volunteers to step up and help Flint residents affected by the ongoing water crisis there.

The group has joined Flint’s Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village as well as others to buy clean water and distribute it in the city. A page was recently created aiming to raise $50,000 by Saturday to aid the effort. So far, donors have contributed more than $31,800.

But council officials say since Flint residents continually face contaminated water and scant resources, they’re asking that 200 volunteers step up every weekend this month to help with water aid distribution, food pantry organizing and medical testing for lead exposure.

Volunteers can sign up through

“Our neighbors in Flint still don’t have regular access to clean and safe water,” Nurah Petross, a board member and project leader for MMCC, said in a statement Thursday. “Providing water to those in need is one of the highest forms of charity in our faith. We call on all people of conscience to join us in this effort.”

At Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, Flint residents are being offered free lead screening and counseling from local doctors, participants said. Clinic hours are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday at 4119 Saginaw.

“Flint’s infrastructure has been broken and so has the trust of its people, we are doing our best to help play a role in restoring both, by providing safe water, screening for high lead levels in blood, assessing neurological damage with MRI’s and providing health advice to the community. Despite the overwhelming numbers, we are providing as much support as we can,” Dr. Jawad Shah, a Broome board member leading the screening.

Broome also is leading a “Flint Coalition,” which meets every Saturday, advocating for replacing Flint’s pipes, an infrastructure overhaul and other improvements.

“We want everyone to understand that there is no quick fix to this catastrophe,” said Omar Kamran, director of the Broome center. “There is a clear need for a sustained long-term relief effort that must coincide with the rebuilding of our water and community infrastructure.”

MMCC said the Muslim community has donated more than 400,000 bottles of water to local Flint residents and provided 400-plus volunteers in the past two weeks.

On Tuesday, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA said its Metro Detroit chapter had partnered with Humanity First USA and doubled a recent donation of 52,400 water bottles to 104,800.

“Water was delivered to the city of Flint, two senior citizen homes, a local YMCA, three churches and to the Flint general public in need,” officials said in a statement. “At the Salem Lutheran Church, cars lined up down the street full of families in need of clean water.”

Humanity First is continuing to accept water donations from 7-10 p.m. daily at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center, 1730 W. Auburn, Rochester Hills. For information: