Jackson, Mississippi’s 16 WAPT held its first water drive to collect and donate water bottles to families impacted by the Jackson Water Crisis, due to a February winter storm which left families in the Jackson area without water for nearly a month. More than 1.1 million water bottles were collected at various locations and were distributed within 24 hours.
Supporting the water drive effort were multiple Jackson businesses and community partners, including donations from Regions Bank, Continental Tire, Entergy, Kroger, and Sanderson Farms. Volunteers from the Mississippi Food Network assisted with donations at each of the four drop-off locations.
“Clean drinking water is a basic necessity for our community, and many of our neighbors have gone three weeks or more without it,” said 16 WAPT president and GM Mike Neelly. “It’s times like these that Mississippi generosity shines more than ever, and our community surpassed all expectations with an incredible display of giving. Thank you to all our donors, partners, and volunteers for helping us show our neighbors that they are not alone, they are not forgotten, and our community will do all we can to help.”
Throughout the day, total donations were tallied and displayed live via special crawl on the Hearst-owned ABC affiliate and its sister station MeTV, and a special schedule of live coverage ran throughout the day between normal programming, updating viewers on the water drive progress.
Water not immediately distributed will be used to create a new water stockpile program in the Mississippi Food Network warehouse to address future water related emergencies. Water Drive 16 will return in 2022 as an annual community service of Jackson’s 16 WAPT.
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