Organization Seeks Donations for Annual Bottled Water Drive and Heat Relief Kits

Valley of the Sun United Way’s Women United group is hosting its second annual Maricopa County Bottled Water Drive through the month of August to provide more than 200,000 bottles of water to local nonprofit partners who assist people experiencing homelessness.

Women United, joined by partners throughout the Valley including major contributors such as Walmart, will provide the bottled water for distribution at the Human Services Campus, Salvation Army, a New Leaf, and other organizations that help those in need.

Community members are encouraged to join in the effort with monetary donations for the purchase of water. For example, a donation of $5 would buy a case of water with 40 water bottles and a donation of approximately $200 would purchase a 48-case pallet of 1,920 bottles. Monetary donations can be made online at vsuw.org/mc2026waterdrive. If community members wish to purchase water bottles instead, drop off locations across the Valley are listed on the website as well.

“We have bold goals for bringing mighty change to Maricopa County and our ambitious goal for this water drive is no different,” says Rob Podlogar, Chief Community Development and Engagement Officer at Valley of the Sun United Way. “With help from the community last year, Women United was able to donate more than 50,000 bottles of water. This year, they are aiming even higher.”

Valley of the Sun United Way also is encouraging community members and local companies to make and donate heat relief kits for people experiencing homelessness. The kits provide sunscreen, sunglasses, antibiotic ointment, bottled water, lotion, and other needed items. For information and drop off coordination, contact volunteer@vsuw.org.

Heat-associated illness and deaths are a community-wide issue in the summer months. Maricopa County reported that 323 people died from heat-associated causes in 2020. Already this year, 75 deaths are likely related to extreme summer temperatures.

United Way’s heat relief efforts are part of MC2026, the organization’s new five-year plan for creating “Mighty Change” in Maricopa County. The plan includes a strategic focus on health and on housing insecurity. Access to clean, drinkable water and shelter is imperative, especially during the dangerously hot summer months.

“The Women United water drive is a great example of what can be achieved when you have the right partners who care about our community,” Podlogar says. “Achieving our bold MC2026 goals over the next five years will take a partnership that includes all of us.”