BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The United Cajun Navy is helping our neighbors in Jackson, Miss. as they continue to struggle to get clean water.
“I think that for the most part, we are doing our best in a very difficult situation,” said Dr. Fran’Cee Brown-McClure.
Water is a human necessity, however, in Jackson, it has become a scarce resource.
“Unfortunately, at this point, you couldn’t ingest any of the water,” said Brown-McClure.
She said they’re doing their best to support students still on campus.
“We do have bottled water for students, and we’re making those kind of runs on a regular basis. We have brought in portable toilets for students, and we’ve also brought in portable showers,” Brown-McClure said.
These accommodations do come with a price tag.
“It does have a huge financial impact, again, that you can never anticipate. Ultimately, our hope is that this will end quickly because, again, if it doesn’t, we may lose students. So we’re trying to make sure that we can help students and to cover our gaps that are coming up from this particular situation,” she said.
To help soften the blow, they are working to piece together resources.
“There is an emergency fund. We are collecting gift cards just to make sure that we can keep our pantry on campus stocked, but also that if students are in need of something that we can get those gift cards to them to make sure that they’re getting what they need so that they can feel some sense of normalcy in their life,” she said.
Todd Terrell with the United Cajun Navy says they have boots on the ground trying to provide relief to those in Jackson.
“This has been an ongoing problem in that area for a while with the water treatment facilities in the water system, but the flooding just kind of exasperated and sped up the process,” he said.
They have also targeted those who are most vulnerable.
“There’s a ton of elderly and disabled, handicapped and veterans out there that need help,” he stated. “They don’t have the opportunity to get out, to come sit and get water or go sit in a line and get a case of water.”
Getting the supplies they need has its challenges.
“There’s just such a huge demand for water right now. And there’s been so many disasters the last few years, waters have been a lot more scarce right now,” said Terrell.
One thing this crisis has done is brought the communities together.
“To see a smile on somebody’s face, to give them just a bottle of water, sometimes is amazing,” he said.
“It really gives you an opportunity to appreciate the humanity in people. It’s just true gratitude because we couldn’t make this happen right now without that generosity,” said Brown-McClure.
The United Cajun Navy is accepting monetary and supply donations. Click here to donate.
Jackson State University is accepting donations in the form of beverages, snacks, toiletries, and grocery or Visa gift cards that can be used to restock the on-campus food pantry. Click here to donate to their GAP Emergency Fund.
Gifts can also be mailed to: Division of Institutional Advancement, Attn: Emergency Support/Water Crisis, 1400 J.R. Lynch St., P.O. Box 17144, Jackson, MS, 39217