Paulla McCarthy is making history during a landscape-shifting time as the first Black woman in New York to own and operate a water bottling company.

According to Black Enterprise, the enterprising founder and CEO of Youth Saving Society and YSS Water Works, the latter is a water bottle company she developed after being inspired by her children during the pandemic. A nurse and single mother of three, she instilled financial literacy and entrepreneurship to her children during the pandemic. Investing $1600 with her twin boys, they sold pallets of water during the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As the boys dubbed themselves The New York Water Boys, the budding entrepreneurs built upon their successes and landed a contract to sell water to 21 supermarkets. From purchasing water in bulk from BJs to starting a water company in Poestenkill, New York, McCarthy and The New York Water Boys chose this as the chance to build something meaningful on 15 acres of land.

After making a trip to taste the water, she researched the business of water and the bottling industry. She tapped family and friends to fund YSS Water Works and earned $130,000 in donations in two days. Now, she is working on maintaining her new company and its nonprofit, Youth Saving Society and the YSS Water Works 3 Million Gallon Challenge. For every purchase of the natural spring water bottle, each dollar “will yield 1 YSS Token to be used towards future purchases.” according to Travel Noire. 

The issue of environmental resources such as oxygen and water increase in value as they become more scarce. McCarthy, who has fielded serious inquiries about her plant, has noted no intentions of selling her property. “I’m not going to sell. I want to change and move this narrative that we don’t own anything,” McCarthy told Earn Your Leisure.

“To combat [the issue of scarcity with natural spring water, we are bringing] our community the absolute best...YSS Water Works is launching our 3 Million Gallon Challenge to pre-sell 3,000,000 gallons of water within the next 30 days and bring access to the hands of the millions in our community,” McCarthy said. 

Paulla McCarthy and YSS Water Works intend to address an issue being faced around the world. For more information about the initiative, visit their site here and donate to Youth Saving Society.