Inmates give back to those in Flint
People all across the country are continuing to give to those in need in Flint but the latest donation comes from an unlikely place.
Inmates from the Pugsley Correctional Facility in Kingsley and the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee are the ones behind the idea.
They created a friendly competition against one another to raise the most water- which soon will be on its way to the city.
"Our first initial thought is that we're going to get a couple hundred cases or whatever but we didn't realize what we had here," said Robert Gauthier, Pugsley Correctional Facility General Office Assistant.
What they have here is roughly 29,000 bottles of water ready to be sent to Flint.
This was all through the donations of the community and inmates at the Oaks and the Pugsley Correctional facilities in northern Michigan.
"It's a lot of money when you're making a $1.17 a day or making $.26 an hour," said Gauthier. "So from that end of it they dug deeper than us."
The bottles of water will be going to Genesee County's Intermediate School District and the fundraiser started as a competition between the two correctional facilities.
"It wasn't us that won. It wasn't oaks that won. This is going to those kids at ISD in Genesee County. They won," said Gauthier.
One inmate - who helps with charities for the community - says there are a lot of men who are from Flint at Pugsley. So this crisis hits home.
"We want society to know that, you know, we're humans and we're here paying our debts to society and correcting our errors and willing to make our contribution to the well-being of our society and our communities," said Eladio Nino, Pugsley Correctional Facility Inmate.
Eladio says if inmates couldn't contribute financially they did their best to play their part by writing letters or by physical labor.
"We think it's just absolutely necessary for all people to come together collectively and respond," said Eladio.
When we asked Eladio what it meant to him personally being able to help, he said it was absolutely empowering.
"It's enlightening and it's empowering for me to know that I can actually make a contribution to the well-being of others," said Eladio. "I've been in prison for 14 years now and unfortunately I'm in here for murder so, you know, I don't want my legacy, on a personal note, to be known as somebody who came to prison and who was responsible for taking somebody's life. I want to be known for somebody who made a contribution to the well-being of the youth and other people."
In addition to giving to the community, Eladio says he and fellow inmates are giving to themselves by learning how to be better fathers, better husbands and better assets to the community.
The Oaks Correctional Facility will be sending their water to flint Thursday.
Pugsley will send theirs April 12th.