When Movement Mortgage’s Tempe Operations Center set a goal to collect 150,000 water bottles for their community’s homeless population this summer, it would have marked a 41 percent increase on the previous year’s Bottled Water Drive. Plus, the nonprofit Movement Foundation said it would match each bottle with a $1 donation to the Phoenix Rescue Mission up to the goal of $150,000.
Instead, Movement team members, family and friends responded with 253,000 water bottles, shattering the goal and exceeding last year’s total by 139 percent.
Both the water and the Foundation match will go to the Phoenix Rescue Mission to serve homeless residents of the Phoenix metro area who are suffering in the desert’s oppressive summer heat.
In Arizona, temperatures routinely reach triple digits, with the average temperature for the summer months hovering around 104 degrees. But for the 1 in 184 Arizonans who are homeless, the high temperatures are more than an annoyance. They’re life-threatening. Heat stroke can occur in as little as 10 to 15 minutes of exposure, causing permanent damage to the brain, kidneys and heart.
Enter the Phoenix Rescue Mission, a nonprofit dedicated to providing a stable environment, while encouraging and aiding the rehabilitation of people in need.
In 2014, Movement Mortgage decided to partner with the Phoenix Rescue Mission to help provide water to those in need during the especially dangerous summer months. The initial push in 2014 raised 26,000 water bottles and inspired an annual event. In 2015, Movement surpassed its goal of 100,000 bottles to raise 106,033 bottles of water, plus summer survival kits consisting of essentials like sunblock, granola bars, hats, lip balm, neck coolers, shirts, socks and sunglasses.
This year, the Movement Foundation announced that it would match donations up to $150,000, and the goal was set to bring in 150,000 water bottles. The Movement community raised an astounding 253,000 bottles of water — that’s 33,404 gallons of water — plus the $150,000 match. Movement also worked with Costco, which warehoused water and allowed team members to purchase water at a wholesale prices.
“There are a number of ways that Tempe Ops employees can love and value people in the community, but in the summer, this is by far one of the most urgent needs,” program organizer Julianna Clayton says.
A week before the drive ended, the donation level was sitting around 117,000 water bottles. Movement responded.
“I was simply hoping that we would make it to our goal of 150,000,” Clayton says. “I was ecstatic. I never expected to go 100,000 more than that.”
To learn more about the Phoenix Rescue Mission, visit www.phoenixrescuemission.org.