Lighting a match for the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s water drive

ASU alumna brings together the Phoenix Rescue Mission and Match restaurant to bring water to the waterless

1,500 excessive natural heat-related deaths have occured in Arizona between 2000 and 2012, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. For some, including an ASU alumna, the Phoenix Rescue Mission, the Found:re Hotel and Match restaurant, this number is too high.

In order to combat 2017’s summer heat, ASU alumna, Susie Timm, helped facilitate a partnership between the Found:re Hotel and Match Restaurant, and the Phoenix Rescue Mission in order to help the Rescue Mission’s Code: Red campaign to bring water to the homeless.

Beginning June 14, the hotel and restaurant will be accepting donations of cases of bottled water to help aid the Rescue Mission’s Code: Red campaign, and in exchange participants will receive a buy-one-get-one-free coupon good for one lunch sandwich, salad or dinner entrée at the restaurant. They will be taking donations for one month.

This all began when Timm, the president of Knife and Fork Media Group Public Relations firm, started working with Match in January of this year.

“As part of almost every marketing and PR plan that we do, for almost every client we work with, there is always some element of a give back,” Timm said. “I like to work with people like Match who also have those kind of missions.”

She said that one of Match’s requests was that Timm help brainstorm ideas of how they could get more involved with the Downtown Phoenix community.

“Probably in March-ish, I reached out to the Phoenix Rescue Mission and I said, ‘Hey I know your summer water program will be coming up, is there anything we could do?’” Timm said. “I thought that it would be a really good match. My clients who run the restaurant and hotel said, ‘Absolutely, we love it. This is exactly what we’re looking for.’”

The General Manager for the Found:re Hotel and Match restaurant, Vittal Calamur, said that one of their four core values is community and the water drive was a great way to exemplify that.

“For us it’s all about making a difference and making a positive impact in our community,” Calamur said. “This is something, once I heard about it, I said we definitely need to be a part of it.”

The hotel and restaurant are fairly new the Phoenix area, having opened their doors on October 25, 2016. In that time Calamur said that they have looked for ways to get involved with the community and Code: Red is one of those.

“Water’s scarce, especially here in the Valley,” he said. “As we get into the summer months and all the people are in need of water, we just want to make a positive impact and do what we can as a business.”

Nicole Peña, spokesperson for the Phoenix Rescue Mission, said that the mission has been doing Code: Red for the past five years, but that it has been involved with getting water out to the homeless on the streets for more than 10.

“In 2005 we started our Hope Coach program and that really was when there was a particularly terrible heat wave,” Peña said. “56 homeless folks perished on the streets in just the month of July.”

After that time, she said the Rescue Mission realized even though the facility had the means of helping the homeless in need during the heat, if the homeless couldn’t get to the mission on 35th avenue and Baseline, then they couldn’t get help.

The Hope Coach program was designed to serve this need by taking two large Ford transit vans around the Valley to find homeless in need of water and to supply them. The water collected from Match will go to help this program as well.

“We have set our campaign goal at a million bottles and we have every intention of meeting that goal,” Peña said. “I feel like we’re probably going to exceed that number, but it’s also been really, really hot… so we’ve been working over time to get that water out.”

While the goal is to save the lives of those in need of water, she said that there is also a larger goal that the Phoenix Rescue Mission always keeps in mind.

“It’s our hope that we can reach all of these people that are homeless with that bottle of water, but we really use that as an ice breaker to get them into services,” Peña said. “Even though the campaign is about hydrating the homeless, it’s also about finding the homeless a home.”

To donate a case of water bottles and get a free coupon, donors can take their cases to the front desk at the Found:re hotel or directly to the Match restaurant. Donations will also be accepted at the Phoenix Rescue Mission directly.

For more information on the Code: Red campaign and water donations click here.

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