UPDATE: Free covid testing postponed due to poor weather on Thursday, Jan. 20
The Mississippi Poor People's Campaign has postponed its free COVID-19 testing in the parking lot in front of Craft Cleaners due to incoming weather. The site will also be closed Thursdya, Jan. 20, for lab updates. Testing will resume Friday, Jan. 21 from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 22 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., weather permitting. The site will also be available next week: Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 29, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
The Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign is been hosting free COVID-19 testing in downtown Kosciusko through a partnership with Nueva Vida (New Life) Baptist Church, an affiliate of First Baptist Church of Kosciusko.
Testing — held in the parking lot in front of Craft Cleaners — started from 12 to 5 p.m. on Monday and was set to continue daily — except for Thursday, Jan. 20 — through Saturday, Jan. 29.
The state chapter is an affiliate of the national Poor People’s Campaign which has a mission of building a broad fusion movement to unite and better the lives of poor and impacted communities across the country. The campaign’s name and initiative derive from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for a national “revolution of values” in 1968.
National organizer Danyelle Holmes said the movement to provide free testing was generated in response to the government's inadequacy to provide free tests to low-wealth individuals.
“Here in Mississippi, we understand that there's 1.3 million poor and low wealth (people) in the state, and there has been inadequate access to free COVID testing. As we advocate on behalf of the poor and low-wealth, we also try to meet the needs of the poor and low-wealth as much as possible,” said Holmes. “As you can see, our government has not been responsive in making sure that — in poor communities — free access to COVID testing was available. So, our goal has been to launch a statewide initiative to make sure.”
Holmes said the organization partnered with LabLINQ, a Mississippi-based company that provides mobile laboratories focused on closing health disparity gaps through collaborations across healthcare and government. The free testing initiative has already taken place in Hinds County, is currently operating in Attala, and then will make stops in Holmes, Leflore, and Lamar counties, along with locations in the Mississippi Delta and other rural areas of the state.
Holmes said the campaign has an unlimited supply of COVID-19 tests and promises the experience to be hassle-free.
“There is a no hassle fee. So, if you don't have $200, don't worry. If you don't have insurance, don't worry,” she said. “You can come here and get free testing.”
Results are provided within 24 hours, and those tested can choose to receive their results via email, by calling 1-866-LabLINQ, or by returning to the test site where the site administrator will disclose the results.
Pastor Jose Rodriguez of Nueva Vida Baptist Church, who also serves as a faith leader and immigration reform leader for the Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign, said providing free COVID-19 tests for locals has been “God’s work.”
“This is a great experience because it's part of God's work. It's the best way to show the people love — how much God cares about everybody,” said Rodriguez. “So, here we are. I'm blessed to be able to be part of the Poor People’s Campaign and to be able to help my community of Attala County since I’ve been here 22 years. This is a pleasure and an opportunity to show the love of God.”