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First Grader Sends Water and Messages of Hope to Flint

Scarlette threw her arms open wide and giggled with excitement when she saw the growing mountain of cases of bottled water stacked in the McFall Elementary hallway ready to be delivered across the state Friday afternoon.
 "It's a whole bunch of water. I think they're going to be happy," she said.

Scarlette said she came up with the idea after her mom, Macenzie Smallwood, talked to her about what was happening in Flint. Scarlette's solution was simple.

"I just said why don't we take some of our water to them, so we did," she said.

She and her Mom loaded up their vehicle and drove to Flint last weekend to do what they could to help. "We took about 20 cases over. That's about all we could fit," Macenzie said.

But Scarlette said after seeing the conditions in Flint and watching the families wait in lines to get one case of water, she wanted to do more.

"It made me sad to see all the people have to stand in line just to get water. And they could only get one case for everything they need. And they need a lot of water to wash their clothes and wash their hands and take a bath and wash their dishes and just everything," said the big-hearted first grader.

Dubbed "First Graders for Flint" Scarlette asked McFall principal Jon Washburn if other students could help. And it's become a flood of support from there.

Scarlette and her family are planning to make a second trip this weekend to Flint to bring even more water. Macenzie said a company is donating a 26-foot cargo van to help move the water from Middleville to Flint and another family friend is planning to follow in a truck and trailer. One local company has also donated three pallets of bottled water.

Scarlette said she's surprised by how many people wanted to help and how many people have donated water. "People just keep bringing in more and more and more. There's like a whole bunch of bottles now," she said with a bright smile spreading across her face.

Macenzie said their plan is to drive into some of the poorer areas of the city and leave cases of water on the curb for anyone who needs it.  Scarlette said she hopes it brings smiles to the people who need the water.

"She (Scarlette)  always says things like 'Well when I become President...' and I tell her she doesn't have to wait to become President to make a difference. You can be 7 years old and make a big difference and no one needs to vote for you," she said.

Washburn said he's not surprised by the overwhelming response by other students and the community in whole. And he's especially proud of Scarlette for the actions she's taken.