It’s no secret that the summers in Arizona are dangerously rough, even for the most robust people. With temperatures creeping up to the triple digits, life on the streets of Arizona go from unbearable to deadly. Throughout the state, an average of 118 people die every day from excessive heat, 95 percent of those deaths occur between May and September. Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Code: Red collects donations of water and basic necessities to help ease the life of the homeless.  With safety being a core value at Southland, we were presented the opportunity to give back to the city through Code: Red. Without hesitation, we joined in to help.

The social committee of Southland’s Phoenix office began meeting in 2015 to offer ideas that could bring Southland employees and the Phoenix community together. During a meeting that summer,  I presented the opportunity to partner with The Phoenix Rescue Mission to donate water bottles and other goods. The decision was immediately agreed upon, and excitement was generated throughout the office as soon as it was announced.

Two weeks after we announced the water drive, I learned that a homeless man succumbed to the summer conditions near my wife’s work.  He was found dead from heat stroke in a shaded area along with his dog which was severely dehydrated.  This unfortunate news only emphasized the need for the water drive. That summer, with about 35 full-time office staff, we were able to collect 2,550 donated water bottles and an array of sun protection goods, such as sun block, hats, lip balm, etc.

The following summer, with more staff and more excitement, the office was able to generate a total donation of 5,078 water bottles.  That was more than twice the limit as the previous year!  Though, not to be outdone, this year the Phoenix office was able to proudly donate 5,678 water bottles to the Phoenix Rescue Mission to help support their cause of helping the homeless and needy citizens of Arizona. This has become a permanent tradition of the Phoenix office. Our expectation is always to have a greater donation than the year before. Our goal for 2018 is to break 6,000. As we continue to see the impact of our work for the city, I have no doubt that we can achieve our goals and transform the city of Phoenix.



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