Jackson Public Schools (2023)

On July 29, 2022, Bishop Douglas Logan traveled to Jackson for the 2nd consecutive year to distribute over 1,100 cases of bottled water, donated by Zion Hill Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, to Jackson Public Schools to launch the new school year. In the blazing Mississippi heat, he and local fraternities and church volunteers loaded 42 pound cases of water into the personal vehicles of JPS team members from all 52 school sites for over 3 hours. As we sat together for a lunch debriefing meeting, word came that the City of Jackson was under yet another boil water notice.

Yet another notice that we've seen many times before, but a profound response to this urgent matter reverberated across the United States. The goal of these efforts is to reduce the amount of time our scholars are unable to attend school due to a lack of water, prepared meals, and operational bathrooms. While the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all into virtual learning environments, we all know that is not the ideal setting for teaching and learning.

Individuals, organizations and businesses poured into Jackson to offer tangible support. Multiple 18-wheelers delivered water into the city. Many provided financial donations for us to purchase water. To ease this process, a Disaster Fund was established in partnership with the Community Foundation of Mississippi so that individuals could submit donations electronically.

World Central Kitchen, an international organization, placed 300 gallon tanks at each elementary school and 600 gallon tanks at each middle and high school to provide potable water to use for cooking, hand washing and in bathrooms. Three 6,500 gallon tanks were placed in three different sites- North, Central and South Jackson- to replenish as needed.

Primo Water of Kentwood, Louisiana provided over $25,000 of water, including 5 gallon jugs and pumps for use in our cafeterias.

Atmos Energy provided a monetary donation of $25,000 for us to use at our discretion to meet the needs of our schools during what unfortunately may be an ongoing challenge for the City of Jackson.

The Disaster Relief division of Amazon provided multiple lift gate trucks and drivers to help get the water to our 52 school sites. Additionally, they donated a pallet jack to each JPS high school and to our Child Nutrition warehouse. This was an invaluable donation due to the lack of loading docks at our schools, thus prohibiting safe delivery of pallets of water to school sites.

MagCorp continues to provide lift gate trucks and drivers to deliver water into our schools. Initially, we coordinated the arrival of the 18-wheelers at our Child Nutrition warehouse, which has a loading dock at the same time the lift gate trucks would arrive. Our amazing forklift driver would remove the pallets off the 18-wheelers, and place them directly into the cabin of the trucks provided by Amazon and MagCorp. Partners in Education then provided drivers with pre-planned routes that were designed to be the most expeditious, avoiding unnecessary driving.

We provided extra support to schools in the South Jackson area of JPS due to unusual circumstances. This area is often hit with no or low water pressure. Forest Hill High and Wilkins Elementary Schools have been disproportionately affected. Dr. Alfred Martin, of Environmental Management Plus, donated over $10,000 to rent luxury portable toilets for Forest Hill to ensure scholars and team members had adequate, functioning restrooms.

Volunteers, too many to accurately list, came to our rescue, for which we are eternally grateful.