Adventist Community Services distributes water in Jackson, Mississippi
On Sabbath Sept. 3, 2022, Adventist Community Services (ACS) organized a water distribution at a local Adventist school in Jackson, Mississippi, a city of approximately 150,000 people. A total of 15,000 bottles of water were distributed.
As reported by writers Emily Wagster Pettus and Michael Goldberg in a Associated Press article, Jackson experienced a severe shortage of drinking water after flooding in late August caused by heavy rains led to a chemical imbalance at the OB Curtis water treatment plant. The people of Jackson were already under the blow of a boil water advisory since July 30, with systemic issues over the years coming to a head.
While efforts to fix the problems are underway, some residents have no water while others have been unable to flush toilets or use water from their taps.
Many organizations, including ACS, have been involved in delivering water to Jackson. After meetings with Lillie Buckingham, ACS co-director of the Southern Central Conference, as well as the Regional Conference Office of Ministries and several local Adventist pastors in Jackson, it was decided that a large distribution of water would take place on September 3 at 3 p.m. , at EE Rogers Adventist School in Jackson.
For three hours this Sabbath, volunteers and pastoral leaders from Jackson’s three Adventist churches provided water drive-throughs. Residents received two cases of bottled water per household on a hot late summer day. More than 100 volunteers of various ages participated in this event by distributing 17 pallets of water.
Pastor Edward Harden of the Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church reported seeing many of his members who had not returned to the church since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic helping with the distribution of water. At the end of the giveaway, Barbara Barnes, co-director of the South Central Conference ACS, thanked the throng of volunteers, noting that the need would continue and require additional support for at least several months.
Another water distribution is scheduled for September 6 at 3 p.m., at another location in the city.
“This issue will remain with the people of Jackson for a long time, and according to local leaders, significant financial support will be needed to remedy the problem,” said W. Derrick Lea, executive director of NAD ACS. “As the situation continues to evolve, ACS will work with local organizations, businesses and government leaders to determine how we could be a resource during these difficult times.”
Lea shared that the NAD would support the South Central Conference in this effort; and while financial donations are welcome, more water distribution to local churches may be available in the coming days. “Please keep the city of Jackson in your prayers, as well as the volunteers, many of whom are also living in these difficult conditions,” Lea added.