“I just want to be able to spread love,” he said.
Jefferson is known as the guy who gets things done on the football field for the Arkansas Razorbacks, but he’s also working to get things done in the capital of his home state.
“There was major flooding in Jackson, Mississippi and it took out the city’s water infrastructure,” explained Dallas Mudd, Executive Director of Arkansas 211.
Heavy rainfall at the end of August caused the Pearl River to flood, which runs right through the heart of the Mississippi state capital. Reports show the river rose to just over 35 feet, which is seven feet above the flood stage.
The flooding overwhelmed the city’s main water treatment plant. Since then, many of the city’s residents have been without clean drinking water. It’s caused many people to rely solely on bottled water to make food and deal with hygiene.
“I do have family in Jackson, Mississippi,” said Jefferson. “I found out on social media about the crisis is going on down there.”
So KJ took to his social media and his thousands of followers to ask for their help.
Jefferson and Arkansas 211 have set up a texting line where people can donate money. All proceeds will go to the United Way in Jackson and will go toward providing people with bottled water, baby wipes, cleaning supplies and other necessities.
Anyone can donate by texting “QB1ARKANSAS” to the number 41444.
“I just wanted to give back and me being a big college athlete, to use my NIL platform to be able to reach all over the world and reach millions of people so they can be able to help donate to the water crisis in Jackson,” he said.
Mudd said all the money raised will go to the United Way in Jackson.
“That money will be used to buy water, buy cleaning supplies, buy sanitizer,” he said. “Baby Wipes are another one that they’ve asked for. Anything that local community needs to start to thrive again.”
He also said said Jefferson’s desire to help others aligns with Arkansas 211’s mission. According to its website, “211 is a free, confidential information and referral service that connects people to essential health and human services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week online and over the phone.”
“We’re not battling catastrophic flood everyday,” he said. “Arkansas 211 steps in if there is a single mom with kids and she has to choose between utility bill, food, gas, and doesn’t know what to do to. We come in and connect her with resources in the community. While that may not be a statewide crisis, to that Mom, that’s a major crisis.”
He said getting to partner with someone like KJ Jefferson is a game changer.
“It’s a dream come true, especially for when you’re trying to change the life of somebody else,” he said.
“I’m not only just a football player,” said Jefferson. “I have a great heart and I just love to see people smiling and people doing good for themselves.”
Mudd is calling on all of SEC nation to give back to this cause.
“Our challenge is not only to the Razorback Nation, but to the entire SEC Nation. Being part of the SEC is special. The SEC has not only the best schools; athletes, campuses, faculty, students and fans in the country, but what we really are is a family. On the field we are rivals, off the field we are friends, neighbors and a true SEC family. Now let us show the country how the SEC takes care of our own!”Dallas Mudd, Executive Director, Arkansas 211
He and his wife are also taking things a step further during the Arkansas vs. Missouri State game on Saturday.
“My wife Cara and I believe in KJ and supporting the community of Jackson, Mississippi,” he said. “We pledge $1 per point for Arkansas scores this Saturday. As part of that pledge, if the defense gets a pick six, we will double our pledge. and if special teams scores a kickoff return for a touchdown, we will double that by double the play. So if they score 50 points, and the defense gets a pick six, we’re gonna do 100.”
Jefferson and Mudd said they have no end goal for the amount of money they want to raise, nor is there a time limit on the fundraiser. They said anything people are able to donate will be greatly appreciated.