Code Red: Phoenix Rescue Mission seeks water donations and volunteer help

With triple-digit temperatures expected to hit the valley later this week, the Phoenix Rescue Mission is putting out a plea. The non-profit is in desperate need of water. Water it uses to prevent heat-related deaths among the homeless and elderly.

At least twice a week Jerry Waehner gets behind the wheel of the hope coach, his mission is a very important one.

"If you picture somebody that may be on the street 24 hours a day, imagine the water they need simply for survival, and that is what we're trying to do, to make sure everyone survives," said Jerry Waehner.

Waehner is a volunteer with the Phoenix Rescue Mission. He takes out water and other essentials to the homeless.

His co-pilot is a client, someone who knows the streets all too well.

"Without the Phoenix Rescue Mission, there is a very good chance that I would still be deeply in my gambling addiction, possibly even dead," said Zaccheus Thomas.

On May 1, the mission kicked off it's Code Red campaign. For the third consecutive year, it's partnered with several municipalities, businesses and is issuing a public plea for water, items like white socks, toiletries, sunscreen, and even chap stick.

"Last year we gave out roughly 470,000 bottles of water. This year we're looking to increase that to 500,000 through donations," said Waehner.

As temperatures rise, so does the need. The mission will distribute several cases of water alone in a day, not to mention much-needed sack lunches.

"When I go out on the street and give water and food, it brings me joy," he said.

The hope coach has become a welcome site to those familiar with it, especially in the summer months when life outside is unbearable, and with donations the Phoenix Rescue Mission and volunteers like Waehner will bring comfort to even more people.

"God bless,t he mission, they've always been good to us," said a recipient of aid from the mission.

The hope coach has volunteers helping five days a week, but the group needs help on the weekends.

If you can help donate your time, water, supplies, or money, you can contact the mission at (602) 233-3000.
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