Hydration stations offer hundreds of bottles of cold water in extreme heat

Posted at 6:49 PM, Jun 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-20 01:49:40-04

The Salvation Army, along with many community agencies, have partnered up to set up 13 heating, cooling, and hydration centers throughout Phoenix, in response to the excessive heat warning.

Major John Brackenbury, a program coordinator with the Salvation Army, said dozens of people stopped to get a cold bottle of water and take a break from the heat on Sunday.  

"Just this morning we had a homeless family with a 2-month-old come in and we were able to get them into a shelter," said Brackenbury.

He added that water was an essential lifesaving beverage in the hot Arizona summer months, and encouraged people to donate cases of water or volunteer their time to hand those bottles out this summer.

"This is intense heat and this is our disaster. We don't have hurricanes and tornadoes, but we have excessive heat," said Brackenbury.

"This is critical right now. Eighty four people died last year from heat. We just don't want people to become another statistic," said Brackenbury.

Volunteer Griffin Eugene Lewis was one of several people who sat inside a tent set up under the scorching sun, helping hand out bottles of cold water on Sunday. He considers it his way to give back to the community.

"People out here can die of this heat. To die of heat exhaustion is very, very ugly. We can cool you down.  Amen, we can do that," said Lewis.

He offered a cold bottle of water, along with blessings and a prayer to each person who stopped by his tent.

"We keep our water cool out here, 'coz you know hot water serves no function," said Lewis.

He found it fulfilling to bring relief to so many, out there in the heat.

"A little prayer, a little water, and Happy Father's day you know," said Lewis.

One woman walking the streets with her family was extremely grateful for the water. She said she had stopped in at many fast food restaurants, begging for a cup of water. She even offered to use her own cup, but was turned away from all of them.

"There it is, humble things like that, make it fulfilling you know," added Lewis.

To find out where you can get water, or donate you can visit the Salvation Army website.