Local basketball tournament collected water for Flint players afraid to drink water at home

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FISHERS, Ind. - Cases of water piled up at Best Choice Fieldhouse in Fishers. Water being raised for the Flint Town Elite team playing in a tournament this weekend.

The fourth through eighth grade players are still in the midst of the Flint water crisis nearly four years later.

Despite reports that claim the water is safe, they say there's no trust. Many of the players have tested positive for high lead levels in their system.

"To be positive and work extremely hard to play at an elite level is hard enough within itself without having lead poisoning. But just seeing certain behavior issues mental toughness it has been an extreme for us to try to compete at the highest level possible," Flint Town Elite Coach Chris McLavish said.

Indiana Elite coach Josh Helvie noticed the tough team from Flint and asked coach Chris McLavish about the water bottle replacing the number one in Flint's 810 area code on their jerseys.

"It's just kind of hit me we need to do something for these guys," Helvie said.

It started with one post on social media asking the teams to donate a bottle of water as their entry into the skills tournament this Friday. The idea took off within 24 hours.

"So Monday was donate a case of water Monday, Tuesday became pallet match Tuesday and then we hit Wednesday and it was uh oh we need semis Wednesday," Helvie said.

The donations are pouring in right on time. Earlier this month, the state announced the free bottle water program was ending in Flint because the water was safe to drink despite lead pipes still flowing through the city.

"It was one of those things kind of out of sight out of mind and we really want all of the teams and the kids in the Midwest Circuit to use it as a learning tool as to not taking things for granted," he said.

Coach McLavish says this experience has made his players more resilient.

"With this lead it's sort of put a chip on their shoulder with the shirt we wear the 810 shirts I've got one on right now they've just embraced it and they sort of feel the world is against them and they want to prove to the world no matter what happens to them that they're still going to be there best they can be and make it to fulfill their dreams," McLavish said.

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