Looking to help the residents of Flint? Here's what you need to know

The United Way and American Red Cross are helping organize the volunteer effort during the Flint Water Crisis. (photo credit: Drew Moore/NBC 25)

The United Way is one of the organizations helping provide relief to thousands of people who are without clean water after high levels of lead were leaching into the system. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Gaskin says it's a massive operation.

"Roughly 300 to 400 people a day are calling the 2-1-1 line to get help and connect to resources. We're coordinating with the Red Cross, National Guard, the State and local government to get help to the people that need it," Gaskin says.

If you plan on coming to the city to volunteer, relief officials are asking people to check in at the Red Cross Volunteer Welcome Center on Grand Traverse Street. Volunteer Services Specialist Victoria Friar says more than 100 people have come to town to hand out water and support the relief efforts.

"We are in desperate need of volunteers to come in and help. We have all sorts of different ways people can do it. If you want to be out on the street handing out water, we can make that happen. Or if you're good with computers, we have data entry we need to be done," Friar says.

The Volunteer Reception Center is open:

Monday - Friday, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

If you wish to bring donations of water, here's what officials suggest. For donations of a pallet or more of water, they are asking those to be dropped off at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. For other water donations, they are asking that people drop them off at Catholic Charities.

The United Way is also taking donations through a web site called The money raised will be used for long term care for children who suffered health problems because of the lead in the drinking water.

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