The Phoenix Rescue Mission launches its eighth annual city-wide Code:Red Summer Heat Relief Campaign to ensure that the Valley’s homeless population and at-risk individuals do not succumb to the hot summer.
Code:Red will begin in May and continue through Aug. 31, according to a press release, noting that the campaign traditionally was a large-scale water drive, but with the coronavirus outbreak “causing immense anxiety and uncertainty,” the Phoenix Rescue Mission has raised the level of needs for this year’s campaign.
In addition to water and other heat-relief items, the Mission seeks public assistance to support the campaign with monetary donations and food, according to the release.
Monetary donations — essential to meet the increased need during COVID-19 will be matched up to $150,000 — will be made possible by a grant from several friends of the Phoenix Rescue Mission.
Since social distancing hinders physical water drives, the Mission is launching a system for tracking on-line water drives for everyone from individuals to large corporate drives, said the release.
“This year’s campaign could be the most important Code:Red in its eight-year history,” said Phoenix Rescue Mission CEO Ken Brissa in a prepared statement.
“We’re not only battling triple-digit temperatures but also a virus that doesn’t care who it infects. Our challenge is to ensure that no one in our Valley’s homeless population perishes under the hot sun, while taking the necessary measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.”
Several municipalities, including Goodyear, Peoria, Avondale, and Glendale, have joined the effort and will work with the Mission’s street outreach staff and volunteers to “comb Valley streets” in what is described as a small fleet of Hope Coach vans providing sack meals, water, toiletries, and case management services to those in need.
By handing out sack meals, the Mission hopes to reduce the homeless population’s need for going to communal dining halls where they may expose themselves to the virus.
The Mission’s outreach teams will be following the CDC’s COVID-19 safety protocol, which includes social distancing practices and wearing masks and gloves, detailed the release.
“The great thing about this campaign is that anyone can help, whether you’re a corporation, community group, or an individual who wants to hold a food or water drive, or if you just want to drop off a case of water at any of our drop-off locations,” Mr. Brissa said.
“You can also bring non-perishable food items to our donation warehouse or volunteer your time at our food bank, helping to distribute essential, nutritious food to families in need.”
Public drop-off sites for water throughout the Valley can be found online.
Food and all other heat-relief donations can be dropped off at the Mission’s Donation Warehouse, 3440 W. Lewis Ave., Building A, Suite G, in Phoenix.
For more information on what to donate or to start a Code:Red drive, contact Catie Hammann at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-346-3347.