Health officials host resource fair in Benton Harbor

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 11:50 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - Expanding services and improving peoples’ quality of life.

With the ongoing water crisis in Benton Harbor, health officials hosted a resource fair on Thursday.

Benton Harbor has had a lead problem for quite some time now.

The city recently declared a state of emergency on its ongoing water crisis.

This was an opportunity for residents to ask questions and share their concerns.

“It’s been extremely tough. One thing about it though is that this community really bans together. You can’t ever count us out. Failure is never an option. We always find a way to come together. Always find a way to support one another. This is the way to do that,” Superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools Andraé Townsel.

Residents learned about the health effects of lead; how to get tested; and steps they can take to eliminate lead exposure in their homes.

“Our main objective, typically in public health, is to educate the public on the hazards. Trying to educate them to make good decisions to protect themselves and their exposure to environmental containments,” said Gerald Tiernan with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Residents asked questions about water sampling and lead abatement services.

“It impacts me, impacts my family also, and impacts the community. It took three years just to get to this point, but I am glad we are in the process of getting things fixed,” said Resident Miguel Clark.

“I thought it was important to come to the fair because a lot of my students, a lot of our families, are right here. Great opportunity to get some face-to-face time and continue to build some relationships and see what resources are available for our families,” Townsel said.

State officials said they are working hard to remove lead service lines.

Meantime, they are asking you to drink bottled water.

There is a distribution site on Friday, Nov. 5 at Southwest Community Action Agency from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

There are also two distribution sites on Saturday Nov. 6 at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Harbor of Hope Seventh-Day Adventist Church from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

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