Phoenix Rescue Mission Requests Water Donations During Extreme Temps

By Grayson Schmidt
Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 4:59pm
Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 1:27pm

Though the month of May was a tad on the cooler side for Phoenix weather, June has come in full force with temperatures consistently exceeding triple digits. And while most Valley residents are trying to find ways to beat the heat as summer approaches, some are not afforded the luxury.

This is exactly why Phoenix Rescue Mission is requesting water donations as part of its Code Red Initiative to aid the homeless, elderly, and outdoor workers during the summer months.

Phoenix Rescue Mission’s community connections coordinator, Jussane Goodman, said the organization operates the initiative every year. But she said given that temperatures this week are expected to exceed 110 degrees, donations right now are crucial.

“The need is now, and it just came upon us very quickly and very subtly,” Goodman said. “And so we're really in need of the water for sure.”

Goodman said that other heat-relief items like sunglasses, sunscreen and sun hats are being accepted as well at any of Phoenix Rescue Mission’s 17 donation drop-off sites across the Valley.

“The reason why it's important to us at the Phoenix Rescue Mission is because we particularly serve the homeless population, and obviously, they don't have a home to reside in, they don't have any type of real sanctuary to go to when the heat is extreme,” Goodman said.

According to Phoenix Rescue Mission, the Valley saw over 100 heat-related deaths last year, and given the number of heat-related health calls he sees in a day, Phoenix Fire Capt. Danny Gile said that number seems accurate.

“It is very common for us to go on calls where people are passed out, and then on the sidewalk, you know, a lot of times people think they're sleeping, or they're not really paying attention,” Gile said. “These folks will lay there for several hours and their body temperature will get up to 104, 105 degrees internally, which is a very serious medical emergency, so a lot of those people do not fare well, unfortunately.”

Gile said that particularly in the downtown area where there is a larger homeless population, it is not uncommon for the department to run dozens of heat-related calls a day.

But another population that both Goodman and Gile want people to consider during the summer months is the elderly, particularly those who live alone.

“A lot of times, the checks they're getting aren't covering all their expenses, aren't covering all their bills, so they'll get their power shut off,” Gile said. “We’ll go in homes where they won't have power, and just inside the home alone it'll be upwards of 104 or 105-plus degrees.”

In the past year, Goodman said that Phoenix Rescue Mission has given out 1.5 million bottles of water to those in need around the Valley. And what starts with perhaps a bottle of water or some sunglasses, Goodman said hopefully leads to a positive change in someone’s life.

“It really is a pathway to bring someone into a service to talk about something further,” Goodman said. “ It's a lot more than, ‘OK, well, we're just giving out tons of water bottles, people go and move on.’”

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