UACES Facebook UA System Division of Agriculture organizes community water drive to help Helena-West Helena residents
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UA System Division of Agriculture organizes community water drive to help Helena-West Helena residents

Jan. 25, 2024 

By Tracy Courage
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts

  • Items needed: bottled water, water filters, body wipes, buckets, bleach, LifeStraws
  • Donation drop-offs: Cooperative Extension Service state office in Little Rock or Phillips County Justice Complex in Helena

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LITTLE ROCK — Extension family and consumer sciences personnel with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture are collecting drinking water and hygiene supplies for residents of Helena-West Helena where some families have been without water for a week.

Hydrate Helena-West Helena graphic
WATERLESS — The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is collecting donations of water and hygiene products for Helena-West Helena (Division of Agriculture graphic)

Water infrastructure problems made worse by winter weather have left many residents without water for drinking, plumbing, cooking and washing clothes. Local officials and the Arkansas National Guard are responding to the crisis by bringing in water, but local officials suggest that residents could be without water for an additional two to three weeks.

“This is clearly a difficult situation for families in the Helena-West Helena community,” said John Anderson, director of the Cooperative Extension Service. “Extension will do what we can to lend a hand, and our personnel are already leading efforts to collect and distribute supplies needed by residents in the affected areas."

State office staff are collecting supplies to deliver to the Helena West-Helena community including bottled water, five-gallon buckets, 5-9 percent unscented household bleach for purifying water, portable water filters, LifeStraws, baby wipes or other body wipes for cleansing, and other items that may help with the creation of potable water. 

“From a health perspective, a lack of clean, household water presents a huge challenge to safety, especially for vulnerable populations who may be more susceptible to bacteria found in non-potable water,” said Bryan Mader, assistant professor and extension health specialist with the Division of Agriculture. “Ensuring safe, clean water for residents to drink and safely prepare food is our top priority.”

Extension family and consumer science professionals also are creating resources for the communities related to purifying water through boiling, and other safe methods for purifying water to drink and use in cooking and for other household needs.

Ways to help

Donations can be dropped off at the Cooperative Extension Service state office at 2301 S. University. Ave. in Little Rock from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Donations can be shipped to or dropped off at the Phillips County Justice Complex, 1804 MLK Drive, Helena, AR 72342

For more information, contact Phillips County FCS extension agent Julie Goings at 870-995-1923 or or Darby Treat at 870-995-3568 or

The department of family and consumer sciences is part of the Cooperative Extension Service, all part of the land-grant system that focuses on the human dimensions of food and agriculture. Through the application of scientific research, outreach education and partnerships, FCS helps families and consumers make informed decisions that enhance quality of life and well-being in areas such as health and wellness, finance, family and consumer economics, nutrition, food safety and preservation, leadership, and parenting and family life.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on X and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on X at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on X at @AgInArk.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact:
Tracy Courage
Director of Communications-Extension
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture