Since 2007, the annual Mesa Hydration Donation Campaign has been saving lives during the extreme Arizona heat. City elected officials and community and business leaders are urging the public to join in this annual effort to collect 600,000 bottles of water to help Mesa's most vulnerable residents. .
"Each year I am amazed by the generosity of our community during the Mesa Hydration Donation Campaign," said Mayor John Giles. "As temperatures heat up, I encourage everyone to donate bottles of water to help ensure no one goes without water during the hot summer months. This campaign is a lifesaver."
The 16TH Mesa Hydration Donation Campaign officially kicked off this morning with a news conference at United Food Bank, which distributes donated water to numerous nonprofit organizations in Mesa and throughout the valley including Paz De Cristo, Mesa United Way and A New Leaf-East Valley Men's Center.
"Every year since 2007, The Hydration Donation Campaign has saved countless lives of Mesa's most vulnerable residents. United Food Bank is the agency that knows first-hand just how critical the water donation campaign is. As a United Food Bank Board Member, I see how people benefit from the Mesa Hydration Donation campaign," said Councilmember Julie Spilsbury.
Since the campaign began in 2007, the Mesa community has donated more than 5.2 million bottles of water.
"Water is a basic necessity for human life. The Hydration Donation Campaign is an easy way to help our vulnerable neighbors during the heat of summer. $5 buys a case of water. I hope the community will step up and help by making a monetary or water donation to this campaign," said Dave Richins, United Food Bank President and CEO.
Last year, Mesa Hydration Campaign donor Amanda Ferguson started Bottles for Bill, a nonprofit organization to provide water to support local relief efforts like the Hydration Donation Campaign and raise awareness of heat dangers. The organization is named in memory of her brother, Bill Grimmer, who died from heat exhaustion in the Arizona desert in August 2013.
"I'm honoring my brother with Bottles for Bill and asking residents to do the same by donating water to lifesaving efforts like the Mesa Hydration Donation Campaign," said Amanda Ferguson. Last year, Bottles for Bill collected more than 80,000 bottles of water for the campaign. More information about Bottles for Bill is available at www.bottlesforbill.org.
The Mesa Hydration Donation campaign is a stark reminder of the dangers of summer heat in Arizona, which first responders encounter daily.
"The risks of dehydration are great for anyone exposed to the triple-digit temperatures, especially those who are unsheltered or don't have a place to easily get out of the sun," said Forrest Smith, Mesa Fire and Medical Deputy Chief. "Without donations of water, the outcomes of our emergency responses to cases of dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke would be much worse."
"The Mesa Hydration Donation Campaign is a great way for businesses, nonprofit groups and other associations to network and organize efforts to collect cases of water," said Sally Harrison, Mesa Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. "For the past few years, the Mesa Chamber of Commerce has organized friendly competitions to get water donations and help a great lifesaving cause and we are happy to lead the efforts again this summer"
Residents can donate water at various drop-off locations throughout the City. The complete list of locations is available at www.mesaaz.gov/H2OMesa. Cash donations are also accepted.
Another way to boost donations is the One Ton Water Challenge. Promoted by the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, United Food Bank and the City of Mesa, it challenges businesses, residents and organizations to buy a pallet of water, which weighs more than one ton, for approximately $200. Individuals can split the cost so it's about 100 dollars each. To donate a pallet, contact Becca Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org. The campaign has already received pallets of water donated by several businesses, including Norris Air, JacksonWhite Law, Desert Blooms Multiples, Basha's and Superstition Springs Elementary School.
The Mesa Hydration Donation Campaign will be collecting water until Friday, Sept. 30.
The City of Mesa Water Resources is also continuing and expanding its use of Hydration Stations, which are water bottle refill stations available year-round in public areas easily accessible to anyone who needs a drink of water. A map with the locations is available at www.mesaaz.gov/H2OMesa.