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76,000 Bottles of Water for Austin’s Homeless

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Photo by DJ-Dwayne http://www.flickr.com/photos/dj-dwayne/

With a heat wave blasting Austin with triple-digit temperatures earlier than usual, two local non-profits have learned they will be receiving a total of 76,000 bottles of water to hand out to the city’s homeless population.

The Houston-based I Am Waters Foundation is donating the bottles, each of which includes a motivational phrase on its label. Mobile Loaves and Fishes, which distributes meals to the homeless, will receive 26,000 bottles. The remaining 50,000 will go to Front Steps, an organization that manages the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH), a daytime center and overnight men’s shelter.

“This certainly is going to come in very handy for us,” Front Steps spokesperson Mitchell Gibbs told KUT News. “We’re very much excited about the opportunity.”

Gibbs says distributing water to homeless people is a priority for service providers in the summer. In the past, the ARCH has set up water coolers outside, but that requires someone to constantly monitor and refill them. The ARCH sees up to fifty people a day exhibiting heat exhaustion symptoms if water is not readily available during the hottest days of the summer.

“It’s a very onerous process,” he said. “Being able to do it with these water bottles is going to be a great boon for us.”

Gibbs expects that Front Steps will be able to distribute about 500 bottles each day, which should be enough to keep them handing out water through the summer. Both non-profits will urge the homeless to reuse and recycle their bottles. The I Am Waters Foundation will also provide recycling containers.

The water will be delivered on Wednesday morning. 

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