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More than 300,000 people are without water after a chemical spill contamination
Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) has teamed up with Gleaning For The World (GFTW) in order to aid the people affected by a chemical spill in West Virginia that left at least 300,000 people without clean drinking water.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, at least 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol leaked from several storage tanks into the Elk River in Charleston, W. Va. Thursday, Jan. 9.
At least nine West Virginia counties were affected by the spill, forcing people to drive at least an hour for clean water. Since the spill, residents have been advised to stop drinking, bathing and washing with the contaminated water, according to the city of Charleston’s website.
The Rev. Ronald Davidson, president and chief operation officer of GFTW, said as soon as GFTW was aware of the spill, he contacted the board of directors, including Jonathan Falwell, the head pastor at TRBC and current chairman of GFTW.
“Every time a disaster happens, I send out a text to the board,” Davidson said. “Within five minutes, I get a response.”
Davidson said that with the financial help received from places such as TRBC, Liberty Christian Academy (LCA) and Liberty University, the organization has been able to send several tractor trailers carrying nearly 250,000 water bottles to Charleston. Thousands of people came out to the collection points in West Virginia to get clean water.
“TRBC has a sensational board of directors who combine with (LCA) as well as Liberty University in order to provide relief where it needs to be,” Davidson said.
TRBC also partnered with GFTW to provide water bottles when a million residents in Virginia were hit with a wind storm that knocked out their power in June 2012, according to Davidson.
“We have the best board of directors leading us when unexpected things like this happen,” Davidson said.
In a press release Jan. 14 on the city of Charleston’s website, Danny Jones, the mayor of Charleston, said that relief is still needed.
“Even though the worst of the crisis seems to be behind us, many people still are affected by the ‘Do Not Use’ order, and many more are, quite frankly, very anxious about using the tap water for drinking or cooking,” Jones said.
According to Davidson, GFTW has maintained a steady supply of water to the affected areas in West Virginia as the water improves. Despite the organization’s continued strive to ship more clean water, Davidson said the reason for helping residents in West Virginia stems beyond the goals of an organization — it is a mission from God.
“It is not just a duty,” Davidson said. “It is a calling.”
GFTW is also currently partnered with TRBC and Liberty for a construction of a new hospital in Guatemala, according to Davidson. The aid provided by TRBC and GFTW is in the same category as missions work.
“We used to hear Dr. Falwell say it all the time, and now you hear Jonathan (Falwell) say it,” Davidson said. “When (Christians) go into the world to aid those who need help, the number of Christians multiplies.”