Volunteers set up pallets of water to ship to Jackson, Mississippi amid its water crisis. Credit: Houston Public Media

After Jackson, Mississippi experienced severe flooding and its water system failed, the city of Houston hosted a water bottled donation drive on Friday for Jackson. 

Residents have been without clean water preventing them from drinking, cooking, and taking care of hygiene needs. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is a graduate of Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. 

“The people in Jackson, Mississippi are really going through a lot with the floodwaters, you know rising very high waters, houses and businesses being underwater, the entire water system being down,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. 

Texas Southern University student Melody Robinson is from Jackson. She says she’s happy to see the city helping her hometown. 

“It makes me feel good that I chose the right city to go to college in and it makes me feel really good and I’m just so thankful for the Mayor Sylvester Turner and all that he’s doing to try to help the cause,” she said. 

Mayor Turner said Houston is no stranger to severe flooding like the city experienced during Hurricane Harvey. 

“I think Houstonians can identify with what and part with what they are experiencing,” he said.

Volunteers began setting up tents and pallets at 6 a.m. along Mckinney St. next to Houston City Hall. Water donations were being accepted starting at 7 a.m. until noon on Friday. 

Many organizations like churches, businesses, relief groups, and nonprofits, donated water which exceeded the expectations of sending one 18-wheeler truck to Jackson. 

Jane E. Cheeks is the Director of Human Resources for the City of Houston. She’s a native of Jackson, and still has family there including her mom who did not want to leave her home. 

“My mom is 83 years old and when I said ‘mom, you can just come to Houston, just like most mothers,’ she said, ‘no, I’m staying in my house,'” she said. 

Cheeks said her mom called her the day she woke up and realized there was no running water, she couldn’t flush her toilet, and if anyone had water, it was brown with low pressure. 

Cheeks said she was grateful for the City of Houston. 

“Thank you all so much for being here and showing up and helping Jackson Mississippi with this water drive, ”she said. “Every bottle is needed. Every bottle is needed.”

Due to the numerous donations, the City of Houston will be sending more than one 18-wheeler truck to Jackson. Mayor Turner said Houstonians have really stepped to help those in need in Jackson, MS. 

“You are Houstonian and you are a reflection of the heart of Houston,” he said. “We are 640 square miles and we are big geographically, but our hearts, our hearts are much bigger than the size of our city.”