By Bethany J. Royer
PIQUA — Members of the Piqua Christian Church pulled together, and quickly, when word came Saturday that Toledo residents had been banned from drinking and cooking with their tap water over the weekend.
The advisory was placed for residents in Ohio’s fourth-largest city after test results cited an algae-induced toxin contaminant from Lake Erie.
Travis Mowell, senior minister for Piqua Christian Church on West State Route 185, spoke with the Daily Call, to explain how an already established partnership with Western Avenue Ministries in Toledo brought about the question of, “What can we do?” and a response, “Water.”
Piqua Christian Church members proceeded to collect 400 cases of water for the first trip made on Sunday to Western Avenue Ministries. An area that Mowell states is the 8th poorest in the nation with the two churches working together in offering a variety of different services to those who reside in the low-income area.
When Mowell arrived in Toledo, Western Avenue Ministries had already given out 156 cases of water, and within an hour the 400 cases contributed by Piqua Christian had been distributed.
By Monday, the church had collected and were preparing another 300 cases of water to take to the area when the ban had been lifted. However, Mowell was still in preparation to travel to the city to take the water to the church as a precautionary measure.
According to Mowell, Toledo residents were frustrated over the water ban, one that caused area restaurants to shut down as they were unable to cook, but states “the outpouring has been amazing.”
These sentiments were echoed by Piqua’s own Isaac Hale who spent a summer interning with the Daily Call in 2013 and is currently an intern with the Toledo Blade, and attending Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication to major in Photojournalism.
Hale was sent into the thick of things when the water ban was set over the weekend, stating the first to go was the bottled water in area grocery stores. He expressed similar frustrations of area residents as Mowell, stating the hardest part was the number of businesses closed but thankful they could continue to bathe.
What was truly uplifting for Hale was the opportunity to witness community between those who were in need and those distributing aid.
“It was really great to see equal numbers bringing water and working together to help everyone,” said Hale.
Bethany J. Royer may be reached at (937) 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall