PHOENIX -- With daily highs in the triple digits imminent, Phoenix Rescue Mission is issuing a "Code Red" Heat Alert as part of its Code Red: Summer Heat Relief campaign to collect desperately needed water and heat relief items to help the homeless, poor and elderly shut-ins.
3TV's Heidi Goitia spent Thursday morning at the Mission.
"We just have a lot of homeless people on the streets," Phoenix Rescue Mission spokeswoman Nicole Pena said. "You've probably seen recently a lot more people on the corners asking for money. … Most of them aren't from here and so they're not used to these summer temperatures. They're not used to what the sun does to the body."
More than a dozen homeless people died last year because of the heat.
"They perished because they didn't have water," Pena said.
Stocked with water, sacked meals and various supplies, the Mission's Hope Coach van cruises the streets of Phoenix almost every day to help those who need it most. This year, a second Hope Coach van will serve outlying areas like Buckeye, Maricopa and Sunnyslope.
In addition to water, the Mission is asking for white socks, sunscreen, lip balm and toiletry items.
The public can drop off water Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, the Mission's warehouse, 1468 N. 26th Ave., Phoenix.
The campaign is a Valleywide effort with several municipalities, businesses and churches helping to collect heat relief items. For a complete list of items needed and drop-off locations, visit www.phoenixrescuemission.org.
You also can donate money online.
Six businessmen created Phoenix Rescue Mission in 1952. It was originally called Phoenix Gospel Mission, but changed names in 1997. The organization's goal is "to end hunger and homelessness by transforming lives and mobilizing our community."