Sunday, May 9, 2021

Making Your Mark: Partners, Pharrell’s mom help Flint

Pharrell Williams' mother, Dr. Carolyn Williams, donating to Shaggy's water drive at Z104. (Photo: 13News Now)

Pharrell Williams’ mother, Dr. Carolyn Williams, donating to Shaggy’s water drive at Z104.
(Photo: 13News Now)

NORFOLK, VA (WVEC) — You could feel the excitement in the air. After a Facebook plea to donate water set off a frenzy, Partners in the Community finally arrived in Flint, Michigan with 2,000 cases of bottled water donated by people in Hampton Roads.

They only expected to get 100 cases.

“This is truly a blessing,” said Kimberly Wimbish, of Partners in the Community. “We’re in the snow stopping traffic with two 18-wheelers giving out water.”

Deonna Ponder went out with the group. Her father, siblings and cousins are in Flint.

“My family that’s effected will feel the love and embrace,” she said.

Members of Partners in the Community have plastered Facebook with videos of their goodwill, giving water out in neighborhoods, at senior citizens apartments and causing traffic jams on the street.

They also took something else with them: cards for children in Flint made by children here in Hampton Roads. The cards contain messages of encouragement like, “It’s going to be OK. Don’t give up,” and, “We are trying to make the water clean, so y’all can be happy.”

Starr Armstrong works with a group called Clever Communities in Action. She mobilized the card effort and hand-delivered them to schools in Flint.

“They put a lot of love into this,” Starr said. “It almost brought me to tears.”

Popular local radio DJ “Shaggy” from Z104 put a plea out to his listeners and they’ve responded big time.

Rashad Cartwright after his interview with WVEC13news.

Rashad Cartwright after his interview with WVEC13news.

“It’s amazing,” Shaggy said. “We have three closets full of water. One young man dropped by 40 cases today alone.”

And one of his famous friends made a donation, too. Singer Pharrell Williams’ mother, Dr. Carolyn Williams, dropped by the Z104 studios earlier in the week and again today.

“I just got word from your dear friend [Pharrell, who Shaggy went to high school with at Princess Anne High School] we are donating 310 cases,” Dr. Williams said.

“Holy…!” Shaggy said. “Thank you!”

Besides sending cases and cards, Hampton Roads also sent emotional help to the folks in Flint. Reverend Rashad Cartwright from the Experience Life Church in Hampton recently went to Flint to meet with families.

“Their anger is at an all-time high,” he said. “But I let them know they have folks who care about them, who love them.”

After a long 11 hour, 762 mile ride from Norfolk to Flint, members of Partners in the Community say this whole experience has been worth it.

“Thank you to the community of Hampton Roads, all you who participated,” Kimberly said. “Flint, Michigan: we got you!”

Rashad Cartwright is an Entrepreneur, Pastor, and Community Leader. On September 23, 2016, Mayor Will Sessoms of Virginia Beach, VA, named September 23 'Rashad D.L. Cartwright Day'.