Alternative rock band Pearl Jam is the latest group among celebrities who have pledged to support Flint, Michigan, during the city’s water crisis with $300,000. Hailing from Seattle, Pearl Jam joins Jack White, Big Sea, Meek Mill, and Cher in donating money after finding out Flint’s water supply is contaminated with lead.
Flint’s water has been contaminated for the last two years with toxic levels of lead, Consequence of Sound reports. Earlier this month, Michigan’s governor declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard to bring in bottled water. Last week President Obama declared Flint’s water crisis a federal emergency.
— Consequence of Sound (@coslive) January 23, 2016
Pearl Jam pledged $125,000 to the United Way of Genesee County, and the money will be channeled to the Flint Water Fund. The donations to the Flint Water Fund will be used to purchase water filters and bottled water, as well as pay for emergency support services and prevention efforts, according to the United Way.
Pearl Jam’s friends and partners have pledged to donate an additional $175,000 to the cause. The group donating along with Pearl Jam includes Republic Records, Universal Music Publishing Group, Brandi Carlile’s Looking Out Foundation, Ticketmaster, Live Nation, Glaser Progress Foundation, and William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.
With the additional $175,000, the total donation from Pearl Jam and friends adds up to $300,000.
Pearl Jam released a statement on their website describing how their donations will be used.
“Monetary donations will first be used for the purchase of water filters, bottled water, emergency support services and prevention efforts in Flint, Michigan. After the short-term need of Flint residents has been met, any remaining funds will be directed to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund. This fund will provide aid to children and families with interventions that support positive health outcomes.”
Pearl Jam is also asking fans to help pitch in and has set up a fundraising campaign on Crowdrise. At the time of this posting, Pearl Jam fans have pledged over $26,600 so far.
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) January 22, 2016
Joining Pearl Jam with his own donation, Big Sean, who grew up an hour away from Flint in Detroit, pledged $10,000 and is asking fans for help with donations on his Crowdrise fundraising campaign. As of this posting, fans have brought in over $19,000. The rapper expressed his thoughts concerning the water crisis in a statement.
“I am devastated by the water crisis that has put the entire city of Flint in a state of emergency. It is my hope that we can help by raising the money needed to ensure that the children who have been hit the hardest receive the care that they need today and well into the future.”
— Pitchfork (@pitchfork) January 23, 2016
During a trip to DC, the newly elected mayor of Flint, Karen Weaver, told a TMZ cameraman she wants to thank the celebrities who have donated to the cause, Rolling Stone reports.
“I appreciate it and the residents of the city of Flint love you for that,” Weaver said.
Mayor Weaver declared a state of emergency in December after new blood tests showed 21 children and nine adults had high levels of lead. Residents of Flint were asked to stop drinking and cooking with tap water after the city switched its water supply from Detroit to the Flint River in 2014.
The switch saved money for the city, but the residents are suffering as a result. According to Rolling Stone, local and state officials lied to residents for months about the safety of the water in their homes. Efforts to fix the problem were stalled by officials.
The effects of lead poisoning in children last for the rest of their lives, so it isn’t any wonder the water crisis has sparked outrage and inspired Pearl Jam to donate and show their support for the city’s residents.
[Photo courtesy of AP]