Duval County

Clean water collection drive to help Mississippi happening Sunday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Students in Duval County need your help. They’re spearheading efforts to get clean water over to Jackson, Mississippi, and they’ll be hosting a water drive at James Weldon Johnson Park from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

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Despite lifting a boil water advisory three days ago, the city’s Department of Health says as a precaution against lead in the water, pregnant women and children 5 and under should not use tap water for drinking or cooking.

“I have a little sister, so I definitely know what it feels like to be worried, that if my little sister would get lead poisoning by drinking something that is necessary to live,” said Valencia Gibson, a senior at John Ribault High School.

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Gibson is part of a group of students called I Am A Star.

“We work a lot with the community in helping our community, not only our community but we try to expand,” Gibson described.

When the superintendent asked I Am A Star and other students from the district to help, they decided to plan a collection drive. Volunteers will load trucks after the drive, and they will leave for Mississippi Sunday night.

“Students are able to learn about empathy and they’re able to learn about how to support,” said Vincent Hall, principal of William M. Raines High School.

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The students will be at James Weldon Johnson Park from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, collecting donations of clean water. The goal is to pack all donations into trucks Sunday night, so they can make their way to Mississippi.

“We are asking from our hearts,” Gibson said. “So please, for anybody to come out and drop off water.”

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If you want to drive up, there will be students to pick up your donations. You can also walk up and drop those off. Whether it’s a case or a single water bottle, the organizers say anything helps.

“One bottle is one more than they’ve had,” Hall said.

“There is no such thing as enough water, especially with people who cannot use water,” Gibson emphasized.