A campaign to provide bottled water to Mesa’s homeless during the searing summer heat is aiming to collect more donations this year to ensure there’s plenty of water for those in need.
The Mesa Hydration Campaign wants to take in 300,000 bottles by September — about three times as much as it took in just two years ago.
The United Food Bank wants to ensure there’s plenty of water to meet demand even though there haven’t been shortages in the past, CEO Bob Evans said.
“I’d rather have too much than not enough,” he said. “We’re erring on the side of caution.”
The food bank collects water and distributes it to nonprofits that will distribute it to various communities. The agencies include Paz de Cristo and A New Leaf-East Valley Men’s Center.
A small portion of the water goes to Mesa park rangers. Those bottles are among the most critical, said park ranger John Goodie.
Some homeless people are in such poor health that they can’t walk even a mile from a city park to a shelter — especially when it’s 115 degrees, Goodie said.
“Our mission has a little more sense of urgency because we’re dealing with the homeless and unsheltered who seek refuge under city trees,” Goodie said. “We’ve run across people and had to call fire and paramedics. Several of those people had to be transported to the hospital because they were almost looking the Grim Reaper in the eye.”
Rangers work to prevent such acute medical conditions by stocking an iced cooler of water bottles every day and hand-delivering the water.
Mesa rangers give out about 5,300 bottles every summer.
Donations can be made at several locations:
• Mesa Fire Department Volunteer Center, 2830 E. Adobe Road, 24-hour drop-off.
• Red Mountain Multigenerational Center, 7550 E. Adobe Road, 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
• United Food Bank, 245 S. Nina Drive, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Collection bins will be available on weekends.
• Paz de Cristo, 424 W. Broadway Road, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
• A New Leaf/MesaCAN, 635 E. Broadway Road, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
• Guest services at Fiesta Mall and Superstition Springs Center, during normal mall hours.
For information, call (480) 644-3983.
Contact writer: (480) 898-6548 or firstname.lastname@example.org