Every Thursday before the sun increases, the line of cars and trucks kinds. They are filled with locals like Suzanne Bridges.
“I get up at 4 in the morning; I'm here by 4:30,” she discussed.
Bridges and all the others in line are waiting for a need to live.
“Water. Water is the main source in my house. We drink a lot of it,” Bridges said.
When asked if she trusts the water that streams from her faucets and shower in her home, her answer is clear.
“No,” she said.
Throughout the day, the line of cars and trucks continues to grow. As it stretches down the street and around the block, it ends up being clear how the Flint water crisis continues to survive on.
“As you can see, the lines after 5 years are still extremely, very long, and the need does not appear to get any better,” said resident Sandra Jones.
Each week, Jones is at the front of the line.
She runs the RL Jones Community Center, which hands out cases of mineral water to individuals who live in the City of Flint.
“I've seen it all since I'm out here with them, and if you do not have a heart, I don't even understand. Where is the compassion?” Jones stated.
Jones was in Flint in 2014 when the water crisis began. The city's supply of water was switched to the Flint River to conserve money.
Aging pipelines contaminated the water, exposing around 100,000 individuals to raised levels of lead. Lead poisoning can cause irreparable developmental problems, specifically in kids.
A state of emergency was stated in 2016.
“I've seen what this lead has actually done,” Jones stated. “I've seen children who have not been able to state complete sentences since their cognitive skills are not there. I've seen parents who have not been able to potty train a child at 4 years old, and these people come through these lines that harms my heart.”
In June of 2019, at a National Press Club occasion, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Flint's water is safe to drink.
“We evaluate their water regularly. We're working with the local city, in addition to the state,” Wheeler said. “We're still supplying bottled drinking water to people if they require it, but at this moment, the water quality in Flint, Michigan is safe to drink.”
But in Flint, trust in the water and the government has actually run dry.
“Even though they say it's safe to drink, we still hesitate of consuming the water,” said Steven Atkins, a Flint homeowner.
“It's something that we have to have. It's important that we require it, today we simply can't trust it,” said resident VanNessa Taylor.
In August, the state of Michigan accepted a $600 million settlement with those impacted by the water crisis, and 80 percent of the money will go to children.
Jones says that money will just go so far. Openness must restore trust.
“That's where we are,” she stated. “This was a marital relationship and you cheated on me for your advantage, not for my advantage.”
Jones says the pandemic has made providing mineral water away much more difficult. She's dealt with a lack of volunteers to distribute the water to the vehicles that come through. She states the lines grow outside her recreation center every week, 6 years after the Flint water crisis initially began.
Nevertheless, Jones says she will continue to fill trunk after trunk up until the cars no longer require to come through.
“This city has actually got to get back whole once again. It can not continue like this. This is the United States of America,” she said.