For most of us, having access to water is as simple as twisting a knob. That’s not the current reality for many citizens of Jackson, after the failure of its water system last month.
Much emphasis has been placed on assigning blame for the disaster, but many throughout the Golden Triangle and its surrounding areas are mounting efforts to help during this time of need.
The local sheriffs’ departments are at the forefront of this effort.
“There’s 82 sheriffs in the state and we are all a brotherhood, a family, so we always try to help when another sheriff’s county is in need,” said Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott.
The call for help came from the Mississippi Sheriffs’ Association after Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones requested aid.
Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha sheriffs’ departments answered the call.
The different departments have each seen a good response from the community.
“In this short amount of time, the response has been really positive,” said Lowndes County Sheriff Eddie Hawkins. “We’ve gotten several commitments from several churches, and Walmart has committed to a donation and they are going to let us know how many cases they can donate.”
He said one church is donating $1,000 to buy water and another has pledged at least 250 cases.
All of the sheriffs said that there are no bottle size restrictions or limits on the amount of water that can be donated.
“(We’ll take) whatever they bring in, there’s all different sizes,” said Oktibbeha County Sheriff Steve Gladney. “Whatever anybody wants to donate we’re more than happy to take them and carry them down there, and I am sure that it will go to people who need it. If I have to rent a trailer or whatever. Whatever they bring in, we are going to carry it to Jackson.”
Lowndes County already has transportation lined up though.
“We have a trucking company here locally that’s already donated a driver and a truck to take it down there for us,” said Hawkins.
United Way of Lowndes and Noxubee has partnered with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department to collect donations as well as send volunteers to Jackson on Sept. 9 to help the United Way of the Capital Area with the distribution of water.
“I noticed that the sheriff’s department was collecting donations, so I thought ‘Well, why don’t we just put it all together?’” said Renee Sanders, director of the organization. “We would just work better together.”
She added that anyone can donate or volunteer, even if they live in surrounding counties.
The departments are collecting donations through Thursday and will deliver on Friday.
Donations can be dropped off at each of the three offices.
The sheriffs’ departments are not the only ones looking to help.
Other efforts to help
The Caledonia Water and Sewer Department is also collecting donations.
“We just figured it could be us one day and we were just trying to help out any way we could, especially being a water system ourselves,” said Brad Box, water and sewer superintendent for the department.
FBC Starkville is holding a donation drive today from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. The group will be accepting donations of 16.9 or 20 ounce bottles of water. The water will be sent to a church in Jackson to be distributed.
Munson and Brothers and the Princess Theater are partnering to host a water drive on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be live music by Sugar High as well as Shank and Maim.
Donations are being accepted at both locations leading up to the event.
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