Memphis families with little access to water cope as best as they can

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Families are still trying to cope the best they can with little access to water in the Bluff City.

Some people, who were turned away after the supply ran low at a water giveaway, said they were not sure where to turn next.

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City Councilman J.B. Smiley and other volunteers gave away 400 cases of water at the Orange Mound Community Center Monday.

Although people said they were grateful, many just hoped to see more communities get access to bottled water.

FOX3 spoke with a woman who got one of the last few cases.

She literally just got off after a week of work at Saint Francis Hospital, where she said they had limited access to water.

To make matters worse, her daughter and grandson, who live with her, called to tell her that the pipes were frozen last week.

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She wasn’t sure what to expect when she returned home.

“As far as the water situation and the shortage, I was like, I was just glad to get some water. I’m thirsty now, and then I’m thinking I have to go to Sam’s Club, and then I’m thinking will they even have water at Sam’s Club? And just to know water was accessible on the spot, that meant a lot to me.”

Smiley said he’s getting a lot of inquiries from people asking what steps they should take if they don’t have transportation or have medical issues and can’t leave their homes.

When he contacted the company that supplied the water given away at Orange Mound Community Center, he had them bring extra cases.

Smiley distributed those extra cases to families who were sick and could not leave their homes or didn’t have transportation.

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FOX13 followed Smiley to the home of one woman who’s on dialysis.

He said she sent him an email saying she had a doctor’s appointment Monday for her dialysis and could not get someone to take her to pick up the water.

“Received emails or phone calls about we don’t have transportation, we live around the corner and would like to know if you would be willing to do it so I can speak for myself, I’m going to get in the van today and we’re going to make some house calls today just doing what we can, I’m one person, just doing what we can to try to help people,” he said.

The City of Memphis sent some water to several churches and the Neighborhood Christian Center to help with distribution.

They were asked to distribute it to people who have trouble with transportation.

Statement from: Chief Communications Officer Ursula Madden:

“On Friday, we sent some of the purchased water (more than 5100 bottles), to several churches to help with distribution and to the Neighborhood Christian Center—they were asked to help distribute to people who have trouble with transportation. Another 27,000 were given to Memphis Housing Authority to distribute to residents. In addition we delivered two pallets of water to MIFA so that volunteers can deliver water to their customers.”

This does not include all the water that was given out at our seven locations on Sunday.