The Salvation Army Tucson seeks donations for “Operation Chill Out” program

They are in need of bottled water, sunscreen, umbrellas, and other items.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 11:02 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) -The Salvation Army Tucson is looking for donations as they work to bring relief from the Arizona heat through its “Operation Chill Out” program.

They expect to see more people coming through their doors in the coming weeks, so the supplies are needed.

“We are expecting to see a huge increase, especially just with how mild this summer has been so far. I think it’s going to be a real shock for a lot of people,” said Captain Taurean Ortiz with the Salvation Army Tucson.

Operation Chill Out provides people with an air-conditioned break from the extreme heat of the summer months.

“It gives people the opportunity to come in out of the sun and out of the heat, out of the strain of life and just come in, put their bags on the side, get food in their stomach, they can even wash their clothes, watch movies,” said Ortiz. “Ultimately, it’s to get out of the heat, get some cold water, some food, get hydrated, get fed, and then just relax throughout the day until the sun starts to set.”

This year, they have made a change to their policy by allowing people to bring in their pets. Ortiz said they are welcome as long as they are responsive to their owner and are on a leash.

“Pets are a big important part of the family dynamic. Part of it too is we want to be able to invite everybody and we don’t want a dog or an animal part of the family to be a hindrance of why they can’t come in and find that relief,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz said they expect this policy change to draw in more people. And with more people coming in, they are looking for a few essential supplies to meet demand.

“Some of the main items that we are really in desperate need of is bottled water number one,” said Ortiz. “People are coming into look for sunscreen or for hats, sunglasses, umbrellas, cooling packs, some kind of socks and flip flops, because of the heat your feet get hot.”

Ortiz added that since people can now bring in their pets, they are also looking for people to donate pet supplies to hand out.

“We are asking for booties for the dogs so that as they are walking around town their feet aren’t burning. Dog food to go. Bottled water obviously is a good one for them,” said Ortiz.

All the supplies they receive will also be offered when they work outside the shelter.

“When it starts to peek over 102 and continue to stay in that if not go above it. We like to go out to the different parks not just Santa Rita but parks all throughout Tucson from our East Side location to our Northwest Side location,” said Ortiz. “We want to see as many people get relief from the heat this summer.”

Donations can be dropped off at The Salvation Army Hospitality House from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

The Hospitality House will be open through August 31 from noon to 5 p.m. daily.

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