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Salvation Army delivers life saving water and supplies

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 20:52:17-04

PHOENIX — When temperatures hit double digits, dozens of cooling centers across the Valley open their doors to get people out of the elements and off the streets.

There are still those, however, who chose to stay outside despite the dangerous heat. People like "Gator," as he's known on the street.

Originally from Florida, Gator says he's familiar with hot weather, but Phoenix heat is on a different level.

"Whew, it's Hot! Very hot, sweltering," Gator said resting in a shaded area in Pierce Park. "This is just too much. It's way hotter than I've ever been in my life."

Fortunately, the Salvation Army is out in the community to help those in need.

Brent Babb is with the Salvation Army Emergency and Outreach Services Team.

"We try to target the people who aren't going to be able to get indoors and regulate their body temperature throughout the night, because it's going to be 85 at night," he said.

Loaded with water, electrolyte packs, sun screen and other gear to survive the sun, every time there's an excessive heat warning, the Mobile Hydration Unit hits the road.

"Some of the folks are kind of isolated, so that's our focus," Babb said.

No alley too narrow or road too bumpy, his Salvation Army riding partner, Erika Carrillo, says they're there to serve the people.

"It's already super hot," she said, as temperatures were near 100 before noon Friday. "I think about those people being out all day, because there are people that are out all day with no cold water."

Gator says he knows it can be dangerous staying outside in the heat, but he'd still rather be outside.

"I ended up in the hospital three times out of last five years thinking the exact same way, but you've got to have water," he said.

And he even knows where to go.

"I do have a map that shows the cooling centers," he said. "It’s just a little too far out of my reach travel wise. It’s too hot to be out here to get to the cooling centers," he said.

Gator says he's also worried about losing his possessions that he has loaded on a push-cart.

"Everything I own I tend to I take it with me wherever I go. If not, it comes up missing, that's just the way it is out here," he said.

The Salvation Army hand out hundreds of bottles of water a day and says they will continue to do so as long as there's a need.

"We do provide four to five bottles per person if we can," Carillo said. "If we know that they're gonna be out all day like homeless, we try to supply as much as we can for them, so they can hold on throughout the day," she said.

The Salvation Army is always looking for donations and volunteers.