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'We appreciate it because we need it': Sandbranch church helps neighbors who don't have running water

While the city of Sandbranch continues to fight for access to running water, one local church also continues to provide free water to its neighbors.
Credit: Jay Wallis

SAND BRANCH, Texas — Sandbranch is a town about 15 miles south of Downtown Dallas that has been around for 142 years.

The town has never had running water.

It's a common necessity that Jimi Bradford has to find a way to live without, along with his brother, sister, wife, and kids—who all live with him.

"It's rough, man," Bradford said. "It's rough."

For decades, there have been efforts to bring a municipal water system to the area.

There's also been a well-known church that is helping act as a short-term solution: Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Sandbranch.

For the past 3 to 4 years, members of the church and volunteers show up to the church around 8 a.m. on Saturday to pass out free water and boxes of food.

Credit: Jay Wallis
The volunteers will deliver the water and boxes of food directly to a neighbor's car, without making any contact with them.

They stay for about three hours and typically help out about 112 families.

It's volunteer work Chess Jones said she loves to do. She is the announcing clerk for the church.

"As a church, we build community, so it's all about the people and we're here to help the people," Jones said.

Volunteers showed up this Saturday, to provide people with water along with boxes of food that included potatoes, apples, oranges, rice, plums, peaches and cabbage.

Credit: Jay Wallis
Each box of food is taped up and delivered directly to a neighbor's car.

Jones said all the water and food come from other organization's donations and from some of the volunteers who buy it for the church. Mt. Zion also purchases some of the items.

"Being able to be a blessing to somebody is why I wake up every Saturday and do this," Jones said.

Bradford said it's difficult to describe what this type of donation means for his family.

"It's kind of hard to express, but it's joyful," Bradford said. "I love it. And I love them. I appreciate everything they're doing. We appreciate it because we need it."

While the Sandbranch community is the church's focus, Jones said her team will also help out neighboring communities like Seagoville, Mesquite and Pleasant Grove.