Mississippi Center for Justice, 501CTHREE, and the Boys and Girls Club Sykes Announce the Installment of a Community Water Box


February 29, 2024

Media Contact:
Aquita Brown, mcjcomms@mscenterforjustice.org, (601) 352-2269


The Mississippi Center for Justice, 501CTHREE, and the Boys and Girls Club Sykes Announce the Installment of a Community Water Box
Portable Water Filtration System Installed in South Jackson to Provide Clean, Safe Drinking Water to Jacksonians in Cases of Water Interruptions


JACKSON, Miss.,– The Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ), in partnership with the 501CTHREE, and Boys and Girls Club of Central Mississippi Sykes (B&GCCM), unveiled a community Water Box that was recently installed at the Club’s South Jackson location (470 Sykes Road). The Water Box is a portable water filtration system that will provide clean, safe drinking water to families across Jackson.

“The recent water crisis brought about the needed attention to focus on a water situation that has long existed and needs a long-term fix,” said Vangela M. Wade, President and CEO at the Mississippi Center for Justice. “MCJ’s priority remains on ensuring that the immediate needs of Jackson residents are met.”

During the water crisis in the fall of 2022, the Center sought to address the water problem, impacting underserved communities across Jackson. MCJ has provided palettes of water to a local food pantry, joined a federal complaint against the State of Miss. for its gross mishandling of the Jackson water crisis, and has now partnered with the 501CTHREE to purchase a Water Box to provide clean water to residents in South Jackson through the B&GCCM.

501CTHREE has been providing Water Boxes to people in communities where tap water from the tap is unsafe to drink. 501CTHREE will provide regular lab testing of the water, reusable containers to the community, on-site training for volunteers, and regular maintenance for the Water Box.

With The Water Box, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi can treat contaminated municipal water and provide the community with unlimited clean, safe drinking water. The Water Box connects to a city water source. It uses a three-stage membrane and activated carbon filtration system to remove sediment and toxic heavy metals such as lead and arsenic. After filtration, an ultraviolet system treats any remaining biological contaminants, such as bacteria and viruses. The Water Box can treat up to 10 gallons per minute, depending on the available water pressure at the source. Using lab-grade test equipment provided by The Water Box, the Boys and Girls Club staff can regularly check that the treatment is working correctly and share the test results with the community.

“Having access to a Water Box provides unlimited clean and safe drinking water,” said Jaron Rothkop, director of operations at 501CTHREE. “This installment helps Jacksonians eliminate the need to purchase single-use plastic water bottles, which creates a lot of plastic waste and can become extremely costly.”

In the last three months of 2023, there were more than 80 boil water notices in the City of Jackson. From May 2020 through January 2023, Jackson received over 300 boil water notices, and some communities were out of water for several weeks at the height of Mississippi’s sweltering summer in August 2022 and again during the 2024 snowstorm.

“With the Water Box, the B&GCCM Sykes unit can provide safe drinking water to children, parents, and the community with the ability to store and distribute drinking water so that quality programming and services can continue during water emergencies,” said Cedric Nunaley, director of programs. “Residents will be provided with a free reusable container to fill with drinking water during our public distribution hours.”

There are 30 other Water Box locations nationwide in various communities with water safety and access issues. This is the second Water Box donated to the B&GCCM of Mississippi. The first Water Box in Jackson was sent to the Walker unit in 2021 in response to water contamination brought on by a breakdown in the municipal water system caused by freezing weather. It was moved to the B&GCM Capital unit in 2022. Jackson has five other Water Boxes: one at the Sykes Park Community Center, one at the B&GCCM Capitol unit, and three at Jackson Fire Department locations. The water distribution hours for community members are Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

About the Mississippi Center for Justice
Mississippi Center for Justice is a nonprofit, public-interest law firm committed to advancing racial and economic justice. Supported and staffed by attorneys and other professionals, the Center develops and pursues strategies to combat discrimination and poverty statewide. Mississippi Center for Justice was organized to address the urgent need to re-establish in-state advocacy for low-income people and communities of color. Since its beginnings, the Center has advanced social and economic justice in Mississippi.

About 501CTHREE
The Water Box program began in Flint, Michigan, and was designed in partnership with community members to eliminate the need to secure, transport, and distribute millions of single-use bottled water in response to the city’s lead contamination crisis. Since 2019, we have donated 30 Water Boxes, which have been used to distribute over 270,000 gallons of safe drinking water and replaced over 2.2M single-use plastic bottles. More information is available at www.waterbox.org.

About the Boys and Girls Club
Since 1936, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi (BGCCM) have provided after-school and summer youth development programs for at-risk children in the Jackson Metro Area. Our kids spent about 750,000 hours at Club facilities last year, learning new life skills and values to serve them for a lifetime. We currently serve over 2,200 youth, ages 5–18, in Hinds and Copiah Counties at our four (4) Club Units (Capitol, Walker, Sykes, Copiah (ext) located in downtown Hazlehurst, and our camp facility (Camp John I. Hay) in Copiah County Mississippi. At each of our units, we have a Unit Director, Program Director, and Program Instructors. Our Program Directors and Program Instructors are the point of delivery for our youth development services. Our Unit Directors ensure training, implementation, and overall program delivery management to our youth.