New filtration system ensures Hasselbring Senior Center has clean water for residents it serves

FLINT, Michigan -- Residents attending events and programming at Hasselbring Senior Center in the Brownell-Holmes Neighborhood on Flint’s northside can now have confidence in the facility’s water system, thanks to a partnership with the National Clean Water Collective (NCWC).

Team members from Hasselbring and NCWC unveiled a new point of entry water filtration system and copper pipes that have been installed in the facility at an Earth Day event on April 22. Seniors at Hasselbring also participated in a gardening exercise during the event.

“It means so much to our seniors,” said Beverly Lewis, executive director of Hasselbring Senior Center. “They can feel assured that they have clean water when they’re here and won’t have to deal with bottled water.”

NCWC connected with Hasselbring through a board member at the senior center and has been working to bring a filtration system to the facility since. The filtration system, called Filter King O3, reportedly reduces more than 99 percent of traces of lead and other toxins in water. More than 80 homes in Flint over the past six years have installed similar systems, and NCWC has also installed one at First Union Baptist Church. There are plans to install at least three more at community facilities in Flint in the future.

“This system does a lot,” said Calvin McQueen, a NCWC member and board member of Flint PAL. “It flushes water twice and is customized to each facility it goes into.”

McQueen, a Flint native, noted that NCWC is working in other communities across the country who are experiencing water issues. April 25 marked seven years since the beginning of the Flint water crisis, and the attention the city received has helped raise awareness that many communities with old infrastructure have clean water issues.

“Flint became the poster child,” McQueen said. “But it’s everywhere. If you have infrastructure systems that are 100 years or more old, then you have bad pipes that need to be dug up and replaced.”

He also noted that, as a Flint native, it is extra rewarding to help bring a filtration system to a historic facility like Hasselbring that has a long history of meeting resident needs.

“It makes me feel good that I’m able to be a part of this and make sure that we can get more and more of these into homes or facilities,” he said.

Hasselbring has had to adapt to safely serve residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many services are still available, including tax preparation, legal services, Medicaid and Medicare assistance, medication take back programs, and many other programs. More information about programs and services is available online. Residents can also call (810) 766-9516 or email [email protected] for information.

Lewis also noted that the center also does food programs. They aren’t able to offer in-person dining at the moment due to the pandemic, but seniors can pick up lunches five days per week.

“We want to make sure seniors have access to at least one nutritious meal per day if they’re dealing with food insecurity,” Lewis said. “This is what I’m here for. I believe I was created to help seniors and others in the community and provide the services and activities they need.”

For more information about supporting the National Clean Water Collective, visit their website.

Read more articles by Patrick Hayes.