During hottest day of year, homeless seek shade with AC hard to come by

Operation Chill Out

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The heat arrived early this year and is leaving many in the community out in the sun.

Santa Rita Park was busy Wednesday on the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures above 100 degrees. In the middle of a pandemic, it leaves few places to cool off.

“Shade. The shade is absolutely the coldest and the greatest,” said Jessica Williams, who is homeless.

With libraries closed, restaurants not allowing people inside and the Gospel Rescue Mission not housing people, air conditioning is hard to come by. However, on Wednesday, there was a little help from Nevaeh Yescas, who was passing out water and supplies for the homeless.

“You need to be just nice and caring, and love for other people,” she said.

The Salvation Army was hoping to start up Operation Chill Out on Wednesday but ran into unexpected delays. Normally, the program starts in June, but with the heat already here — they hope to help earlier than usual. For Williams, and others experiencing homelessness, a simple bottle of water and a hat can go a long way

“It means everything,” Williams said.

The Salvation Army is still accepting donations for Operation Chill Out. Things like sunscreen, umbrellas and light-colored shirts are all on their list.

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