Mississippians are no strangers to Southern hospitality, and that fact is never more evident than when their own need help. Members of the Jackson metro area were recently forced to prepare for disaster as the Pearl River reached dangerous, record-breaking levels. This caused chaos as approximately 1,000 homes were flooded, sports fields were destroyed and much of northeast Jackson was damaged. Despite the sudden displacement and panic felt by residents of the flooded areas, local businesses and individuals stepped up to serve their community and focus on the path to recovery. Mississippians help neighbors like no other –– we are not afraid to come together to help friends, family or strangers when their homes and communities are threatened.
Even businesses in the metro area offered support to those affected by the flood. Lowe’s in Flowood, Jackson and Ridgeland pledged to donate buckets of resources such as cleaning supplies, dust masks and bug spray to residents in need. Dozens of charity groups, such as Matthew 25: Ministries, local Salvation Armies and churches, have stepped up to help victims who had to evacuate or have lost their belongings.
On Feb. 16, Cups — a Mississippi coffee shop chain — offered a free beverage to all first responders who were monitoring the flood gates that keep the reservoir secure, and this generous act has been shared over 700 times on Facebook. Comments of love and support for the people helping the relief effort were seen on Cups’s post and all over social media.
In order to gain a more personal perspective of the floods, I reached out to residents who have been impacted by the flooding. Katelyn Walker, a sophomore at Ole Miss, said she felt love and admiration by how her hometown, Flowood, has reacted to this natural disaster.
“It’s so awesome to see everyone from home banding together to help each other out,” said Walker. “It’s really inspiring and makes me appreciate my community,”.
In Morgantown, where flood levels are still dangerously high, residents are doing everything they can to help each other to safety.
Diana Bates, a Morgantown resident, said, “I think everybody is trying to help everybody that they can help. My husband has been helping friends and stuff they got, and they’re helping everybody around here.”
Support has been coming from not only natives of the areas impacted but others as well. Governor Tate Reeves tweeted that President Donald Trump called and expressed concerns for the affected areas and offered support for relief efforts.
The support given to those in need during the flooding showed the humanitarian hearts that Mississippians have. Whether donating money, labor or a cup of coffee, volunteers and Jackon’s neighbors contributed what they could to help their communities.
Alyssa Moncrief is a junior political science and journalism major from Jackson.