Mississippi SHINE Project distributes water, masks, hand sanitizer

Published 6:34 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2021

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NATCHEZ — Before 9 a.m. on Friday, cars started to line up outside of the Adams County Safe Room as word of a free water, mask and hand sanitizer distribution spread.

The line stretched all the way from the tents just outside of the Safe Room to Liberty Road by the National Guard Armory.

Friday’s distribution was one of many organized by the Jefferson Comprehensive Health Center’s grant-funded “Mississippi SHINE Project” in collaboration with local public and private entities, which on Friday included the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Adams County Emergency Management, Alcorn and Mississippi State University Extension Service and the National Council of Negro Women’s Natchez chapter.

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For the volunteers in Friday’s distribution, it was a two-pronged effort to distribute needed supplies in the community and information about COVID-19 vaccinations, they said.

Approximately 420 cases of bottled water were handed out with the help of volunteers and Adams County trusty inmates, said JCHC Community Worker Darren Colenberg Sr.

Kayla Bryant, the Mississippi Shine Project coordinator said the cases were distributed on a “first-come-first-serve” basis and continued for as long as supplies lasted.

“Once the first person gets something, they start making phone calls and it keeps on rolling,” Bryant said. “It just goes to show how much it is needed in the community.”

The Mississippi SHINE Project, which stands for “Strategic Health Information Network Expansion,” has organized several similar distributions in 20 counties, Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Copiah, Covington, Franklin, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jefferson Davis, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pike, Sharkey, Simpson, Walthall, Warren, Wilkinson and Yazoo, said Project Director George Dixon.

More information about the Mississippi SHINE Project can be found at mississippishineproject.com.