NASHVILLE, Tennessee—Current weather models are predicting temperatures will reach the upper eighties and stay there for a while, putting Nashville’s homeless population at a greater risk of dehydration and heat stroke.
“Right now, we are almost completely out of bottled water,” said Rev. Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of Nashville Rescue Mission. “We need the community’s help in gearing up for what I anticipate being a difficult summer for our city’s homeless community. Between our two campuses, we serve over 800 people a day. These are just the ones who come to the Mission seeking help. It doesn’t include those who choose to stay on the street. Even a small act of kindness—like handing a cold bottle of water to someone on the street—might be the very thing that convinces them to seek shelter and could potentially save their life.”
When temperatures reach 92 degrees and above, the Mission sends out its Hot Patrol Van to local parks and other areas around town, giving out cold bottles of water, and encouraging men and women to come back to the Mission for shelter, refreshment, and spiritual guidance. “We also make cold water available to our guests all day long to insure they stay hydrated,” said Cranfield.
Water intake isn’t only essential on the hottest days of the year—people need fluids to survive day in and day out, regardless of the weather. With hotter temperatures on the way and increasing demand, the need for bottled water is enormous. Supplies are low and the need is great. Nashville Rescue Mission needs help from the Nashville community to build up its supply of bottled water in order to help those in need today, as well as those who will be in need throughout the summer.
“Every life has value, both inside and outside of our community, and you can help save those lives by donating water,” said Cranfield. “Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to hear of someone dying from heat exposure or dehydration in Nashville. In the past, you might expect that in cities such as Phoenix or Albuquerque, but it’s also happening here. It is an unfortunate reality for those battling homelessness.”
The warmer temperatures bring along a whole set of survival concerns for the homeless: how to stay cool and hydrated in the heat. “It’s miserable being outside when it’s hot and humid,” said Joseph, who has been homeless off and on for years. “In fact, it can be downright dangerous. But coming to the Mission, where it’s air conditioned and there’s cold water—it’s a life saver.”
The Mission’s Donation Center is located 616 7th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203.
It’s open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Or if you prefer you can make an online donation at nashvillerescuemission.org.