Judge Mathis gives 50,000 bottles of clean water to Flint students, but had a special inspiration

The popular TV judge says he's making good on a promise he made to Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin before her passing last year

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Television judge Greg Mathis just made an incredibly generous donations to students in Flint, Mich., and says his act of kindness is in large part due to a conversation he had with Aretha Franklin prior to her passing.

According to Flint station WEYI, Saturday, Mathis and several community leaders held a news conference to discuss the ongoing issue of clean water in the city’s school system. The judge also gifted 50,000 bottles of water to the students.

READ MORE: Flint water crisis intensifies, 2 million gallons of sewage dumped into Flint River

They began distributing water to schools in Flint this past Monday, on the heels of educators warning that the water crisis has now created problems in the classroom.

Northridge Academy, principal Latricia Brown said the number of her students that need special education has sharply risen since clean water became scarce, with some students facing “cognitive impairment problems” and ADHD. She also predicted that, “the inability to focus will set them back for generations.”

“I want them to come to our schools,” she continued. “I want them to see what this poison has done to our students. It’s nothing pretty.”

Mathis, a native of Detroit, just an hour south of Flint, says that in her final days, Franklin implored him not to forget his roots. He now credits his promise to her for inspiring him to take an active part in combatting the Flint water crisis.

READ MORE: Flint receives nearly $80 million in federal funding for water projects

Although Michigan officials now claim Flint’s tap water is now safe to drink, Mathis points out that leaders cannot expect families who were adversely impacted by the crisis for so long to suddenly trust what the government says.