When you're living outdoors in 110+ degree temperatures its is extremely hard to stay safe, hydrated, and regulate your body temperature. Often in Arizona we see what is call "Excessive Heat Warming". These encourage people to limit time outdoors and drink plenty of water among other things. How do you do this when you have no place to call home? How do you limit time outdoors when you live outdoors?
We knew we needed to do something about this! So we teamed up with AZ Hugs to run an event called Project Hydration. We fundraised to help cool down those living outdoors. Through the generosity of donors, we were able to not only give bottles and water, but also popsicles, misters, and more! However, the event was nothing shy of memorable.
Upon arriving we met a young woman who was overheating. She could barely speak and was pouring sweat. She had no water and there was no shade around. (Finding shade in the desert can also be tough.) We instantly got her a bottle with ice cold water and frozen towel to put around her neck. She was heavy breathing and crying. We put misters on her and asked if she wanted to sit in the air conditioned car. Truly if our team happened been in the right place at the right time, we may have lost another person to a preventable death. Take a moment today to appreciate your access to water, health, and air conditioning if you have those things.
While Krystal, ARA® founder, focused on meeting the needs of the young women our volunteers handed out supplies to other friends on the streets. Over 100 bottles (filled with water), 15 additional gallons of water, and 5 gallons of Gatorade were given to hydrate the people they met. To help cool friends down ARA® also donated more than 80 misters, 50 popsicles, and 30 frozen towels. Snacks were also given by AZ Hugs to ensure people had the strength to keep fighting through their challenging day.
The event was a success, but it was one day. When there are many more days like this every summer, we have to come together to ensure are looking out for all our community members!