The Salvation Army partners with Walmart to address Jackson water crisis
By: Michelle Hartfield
Excessive rainfall doused central Mississippi and the city of Jackson throughout the month of August. Flooding of the Pearl River caused pumps to fail at a Jackson water treatment plant, resulting in more than 150,000 people in Mississippi’s capital losing access to drinkable water. For many, there is no running water at all, as water pressure has been reduced to an unsustainable degree.
In response to this crisis, The Salvation Army has activated an Incident Command Team and will begin coordinated disaster response efforts in the city. On August 31, in partnership with Walmart, The Salvation Army distributed two truckloads of water in a drive through event in a Walmart parking lot.
“I’ve been everywhere trying to get water. This is such a help,” said Octavia Mallard, a resident of Jackson whose house currently has no water pressure. “We don’t know when we will have access to water again. This is literally lifesaving.”
Walmart representative, Joel Berry, stated, “We are glad to help out our community. That’s why we are here.”
The Salvation Army has more drive through distributions scheduled this week, and efforts are currently underway to set up water delivery to underfunded areas where local residents lack transportation or means to pick up water on their own.
“The Salvation Army is committed to assisting the most vulnerable, and we understand that there are members of this community without the means of transportation to get to the distribution sites,” said William Trueblood, the Emergency Disaster Services Director for Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “We feel it is our obligation to take water to those who need it most.”
The Salvation Army remains committed to doing the most good and providing hope to the hopeless. Water, like hope, is a necessity for life, and in Jackson, MS, The Salvation Army is providing both.
From Texas with Love: Couple drives to Jackson to support Salvation Army relief effort
In response to the ongoing water crisis in Jackson, Mary and Gene Ozan felt compelled to load up their truck and a U-Haul trailer with as much water as they could and drive almost seven hours from Houston, Texas to Jackson.
“I woke up yesterday, and the Lord just put it on my heart to pick up water and bring it down,” said Mary.
Gene added, “She had so much conviction and was tearing up. When the Lord is speaking, who are we to argue?”
Mary and Gene were able to add their water donation to a distribution event already underway and join Salvation Army volunteers in the sweltering Mississippi heat to load water into cars.
“This is the spirit of our country,” said incident commander, Major Bill Shafer, expressing his gratitude. “This is not just neighbor helping neighbor. This is state helping state. How blessed are we to live at this time.”
The Salvation Army is continuing its efforts to provide relief to the residents of Jackson. Much of the city came to a standstill as public schools moved online, restaurants closed, and businesses continued to struggle to operate without reliable running water.
To donate, please visit helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.