KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Two semi-trucks carrying more than 2,500 cases of water left Knoxville on Monday en route to Flint, Michigan, to help with the city’s water crisis. Dozens of churches and organizations in the Knoxville area came together for the initiative spearheaded by Christopher Battle, pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church.
“When I heard about the tragedy that happened with the Flint water system, I literally just cried in my La-Z-Boy that day,” Battle said. “I went to church that morning and said we have to do something.”
He asked his church members to donate water, not knowing how he would ever get it to Flint.Related story: $360M price tag to fix Flint water crisis
“It’s just been a blessing,” he said. “I’ve kind of been overwhelmed by the community support for this effort.”
People with TLD Logistics heard about the pastor’s plan and lent a helping hand. The company, a branch of Toyota, donated two semi-trucks and volunteered to transport the water to Michigan.
“I think it’s very important. They need a lot of water up there. Right now, they’re going through a tough time, and we’re just glad to help,” said Chris Martin, senior operations manager for TLD Logistics.
The crew initially planned on driving just one truck but had to reserve another due to the amount of water donations.
“We were hoping to fill one truck and had to bring another tractor trailer over Saturday because there was so much turn out, so it’s great. They should be excited, because we are,” said Vince Will, a truck driver for the company.
Pastor Battle said he could not be more proud of his church members and the Knoxville community, and he plans on continuing his efforts for the people of Flint.
“It’s not enough to think about people and feel sorry for them,” he said. “You have to do something, and I think this little effort will make a great impact.”