Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nestlé and PepsiCo said Tuesday that they will donate up to 6.5 million bottles of water to schoolchildren in Flint, Mich., to help with the city’s public health crisis over lead-contaminated water.
The companies announced in a news release that they are planning to “collectively donate water to meet the daily needs of over 10,000 school children for the balance of the calendar year.” To do so, the companies will send 176 truckloads of bottled water — up to 6.5 million bottles — to Flint.
“We are grateful for Walmart and their suppliers’ support during this crisis,” Bilal Tawwab, Flint Community Schools Superintendent, said in a statement. “With their generous support, District students will have access to clean drinking water, and more importantly, the ability to focus on their education.”
The city and state have since declared a public-health emergency.
Officials at Walmart said the water crisis has become personal.
“Those affected include our own associates, customers and their families,” said Beth Harris, store manager at a Flint Walmart, said in the statement. “Our associates are proud to be a part of the effort to help our friends and neighbors.”
Business and community leaders will announce the donation at the Walmart Supercenter in Flint.
“Access to safe water is a basic human right,” Tony West, executive vice president of government affairs at PepsiCo, said in the statement, adding that the donation announced Tuesday “will allow Flint school children and their parents to focus on their education rather than where they can find clean water.”
Walmart said in the news release that it has “already donated 14 trucks of water, or 504,000 bottles, and 1,792 water filters to the Flint community” since July. It noted that Coca-Cola has donated nearly 80,000 bottles of Dasani and that Nestlé Waters North America has donated more than 190,000 bottles to Flint community organizations.