In response to the severe water crisis in Jackson, Miss., Bishop Edgar Vann, senior pastor of Second Ebenezer Church on Detroit’s east side, led an initiative to collect needed bottled water for Jackson.
For much of August of 2022 into September, Jackson’s residents and businesses have been without clean running water following a series of storms that crippled the city’s main water treatment facility. As a result, more than 11 million bottles of water have been sent to the Mississippi capital city, with a Black population of 84%, from across the United States. Yet, more clean water is needed.
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, the massive donation drive for bottled water spearheaded by Vann concluded. At a press conference held at Second Ebenezer, Vann stood with a coalition of partners that collected enough bottled water to fill three semi-tractor trucks to transport to Jackson. Joining Vann at the press conference were coalition partners Tanya Adair (United Way for Southeastern Michigan), Frank Zolenski (Absopure), Frank Kudik (Focus: Hope), Ronald Lockett (Detroit Association of Black Organizations), Pastor J. Moss (Living Waters Church), and Dr. Allison Folmar (Empowerment Church).
“We are sending over 120,000 bottles of water from the city of Detroit through this great partnership all the way to Jackson, Mississippi,” said Vann. “It’s being sent to help the need of a tremendous water and infrastructure crisis that exist in Jackson. We saw a great need in Jackson for Detroiters to weigh in and help. Behind me, you can see the three semi-trucks being loaded and will be heading to Jackson soon.”
“We are coming together to help our neighbors, whether it’s next door or halfway across the country,” said Adair. “We’ve had our own water crisis right here in Southeastern Michigan, and others helped and supported us. We are coordinating our efforts of delivering and distributing the bottled water with United Way of the Capital Area in Jackson, as well as Jackson State University and faith-based partners their on the ground in Jackson. The water delivered won’t solve the problem in Jackson, but will provide much-needed relief to so many people and families.”
A special thanks was given to Ryder System, Inc. – commonly known as Ryder – for the trucking company’s efforts to caravan three trucks of bottled water to Jackson. It was stressed many times during the press conference that “the right to clean water is not a privilege; it’s a right.”
“We were so blessed to have many churches come in and partner with us,” Vann said. “It was a real enterprise of reaching out to churches and churches reaching out to us, many of which don’t always take the opportunity to work together. I want to emphasize when people of good faith come together great things can happen. I believe whatever takes place in our world can be resolved by the power of partnership.”
“When you see Bishop Vann’s number on your phone, you pick up on the first ring,” said J. Moss, senior pastor of Living Waters Church on Detroit’s west side, who is also a gospel recording artist. “I’m blessed to be a part of this today. We are a small church, but we wanted to pack a big punch to help our brothers and sisters in Jackson because we all are connected. We were able to account for about 200 cases of water.”
Moss ended the press conference by praying for the unity shown during the initiative, the 961-mile transportation of the bottled water and safety of the truck drivers, and the covering of the people of Jackson.