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Phoenix, Mesa campaigns solicit water donations for vulnerable residents


PHOENIX — Annual campaigns are underway in Maricopa County’s two largest cities to help the communities’ most vulnerable residents cope with the extreme summer heat, which claims more than 100 lives a year in Arizona.

The Phoenix Rescue Mission has launched its Code:Red Summer Heat Relief program for the homeless, while Mesa is aiming to collect 500,000 bottles of water for residents in need.

The Phoenix program runs through the end of August and encourages people to organize water drives and volunteer time or donate money to the mission.

“The goal is to really get the people off the streets and into shelter, but if they don’t want to come with us or they want to stay out, we make sure that they have what they need, like hats, sunscreen and, of course, cool bottles of water,” Phoenix Rescue Mission spokesperson Nicole Pena told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

In Mesa, residents can drop off water donations at a variety of spots throughout the city until Sept. 4 (click here for locations).

“When temperatures increase like [they have been], the most vulnerable in our community are the ones that suffer, whether it’s the elderly, or whether it’s the homeless, or whether it’s the children,” Mesa Councilman Kevin Thompson said at an event to kick off the drive.

The water collected in Mesa will be distributed through United Food Bank. Since the program began in 2007, more than 3.2 million bottles have been donated.

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