The Salvation Army provides critical drinking water in Mississippi
By: Michelle Hartfield
In Jackson, Miss., the aging infrastructure of the city’s water pipes regularly creates issues with access to clean water. Century-old pipes in Jackson mean numerous water main breaks, recurring boil water notices, and constant anxiety about water quality for many of its residents. Residents are often without drinkable water for weeks, and sometimes even months at a time. The Salvation Army of Jackson works to combat these issues with bulk water distributions during periods of mass water shortage, and one such distribution took place on Feb. 11.
Jackson residents were able to drive through and receive gallon jugs of water as well as cases of individual bottles. For community members struggling to make ends meet, not having to pay for bottled water is a blessing. When asked what this distribution would mean to his household, Jackson resident A.C. Gipson minced no words.
“This is life and death,” he said. “Jackson water is dirty. It’s been going on too long. We need this water to survive.”
While The Salvation Army of Jackson regularly provides water through its food pantry and grocery assistance programs, these bulk distributions provide a unique opportunity to serve a broader public. Through the course of the day, 870 families were served 1,740 2.6-gallon boxes and 1,012 cases of bottled water.
“It’s always a blessing to help those in our community,” said Major Bill Shafer, The Salvation Army’s corps officer in Jackson.
Every day, and in every season, The Salvation Army and its Emergency Disaster Services are working to provide for the needs of people affected by everyday “disasters” as well as the larger ones.
“We are so blessed to be able to help this community meet such a basic need. We hate the fact that we HAVE to do it, but we love the fact that we GET to do it,” said William Trueblood, divisional emergency disaster services director. “Hope is on the way, and sometimes providing hope is as simple as giving someone drinkable water.”