A city official is donating water to help residents in Jackson, Mississippi, who have been affected by a water crisis.
For the past month, Philadelphia City Commissioner Omar Sabir along with his team has been working on the Mississippi Water Project, a humanitarian effort to aid people in Jackson suffering from the water outage.
Jackson is a city with an estimated $2 billion infrastructure problem — the cost of overdue water and sewer overhauls — and a $300 million annual budget.
“Jackson, Mississippi, is in dire need of water,” Sabir said. “Residents have gone weeks without clean water. However, this is also a problem that is affecting a lot of people across the country.
“Residents in West Virginia, Flint, Michigan, and Kentucky are also having problems with their water supply, so it’s not just in Jackson. This country as a whole has ongoing problems with water security and infrastructure and we have unfortunately for quite some time.”
Sabir, the Wakefern Food Corporation and Nestle are donating a truckload of bottled water to the Mississippi Food Network, a food bank that has distributed more than 1.5 million pounds of food and feeds more than 150,000 people every month.
The commissioner will head to Jackson on Monday to meet the shipment at the food bank on Tuesday. Sabir said the public can also donate to help Jackson residents.
“I reached out to the mayor and some city council members down there,” Sabir said. “We talked about how to donate the water, but we also had conversations about food.
“What we’re doing is that people can actually make a donation to the Mississippi Food Network, which is their food pantry. People can choose whatever items they want to donate and the mayor and city council members will make sure the residents of Jackson will receive it.”
Sabir said he wanted to help the residents in Jackson after he and his family saw a story about the water crisis on CNN.
“Something as simple as water is a need that we take for granted,” Sabir said. “After seeing what the residents in Jackson were going through, we wanted to help.
“The first thing I did was call Jeff Brown from ShopRite to see how we could get some water down there. He was able to put me in contact with the Wakefern.
“They told me that while they couldn’t get a truckload of water out of Philadelphia, they could get me one down there,” he added. “We just wanted to show our support and put our arms around the residents and the city through this difficult time.”
For more information, visit www.msfoodnet.org.