Inmates and staff at two Michigan prisons — Pugsley Correctional Facility and Oaks Correctional Facility — were able to gather nearly 30,000 bottles of water during a 30 day contest to see who could collect the most for students dealing with the ongoing water crisis in Flint.
In all, the face-off ended with a total of 29,000 bottles for students of Genesee County’s Intermediate School District, the Huffington Post reports. While inmates and staff at Pugsley can technically walk away with bragging rights for collecting the most water, the creator of the drive, Pugsley general office assistant Robert Gauthier, doesn’t see it that way.
“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,” Gauthier told.
James Dawson, an administrative assistant at Pugsley, told The Huffington Post that staff members contributed by reaching out to people in the community for water donations. They also got a local grocery store involved to add to the drive.
What’s more? Inmates, who can make $1.17 a day or $.26 an hour according to Gauthier, were also able to donate about $600 to the cause – despite their small pay.
“I think the numbers speak for themselves. To have $600 dollars collected from them when they had very limited money and resources — that speaks volumes,” Dawson said. “[It shows] that they’re willing to give back to the community instead of themselves.”
The water crisis in Flint has set off humanitarian efforts across the nation, though authorities in the Michigan city have been slow to act. Earlier this week, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder cut ties with one of two public relations firms he hired to assist his office in the wake of the water scandal. Both citizens and politicians have called for his resignation.
The recipients of the contest have received their first batch of water from Oaks Correctional Facility. Pugsley will send their contribution on April 12.