Have you ever thought about how you cool down in the summer when the temperatures heat up?
When we get hot our bodies have a harder time cooling off. The longer we spend outside in the sun the more challenging it becomes for our bodies to regulate our internal temperature. And when the days and nights are hot continuously hot our internal temperature rises and can’t cool down – especially if we are dehydrated and don’t have enough fluid and salt in our bodies. If you have a medical condition heat can be even harder on you.
Now imagine you don’t have access to water. Or access to areas that can shelter you from the heat. Or a place to bathe. Exposure to the elements. The struggle to keep clean. It degrades the soul. Angel, who found hope at Portland Rescue Mission, remembers how difficult it is to be homeless in the summer,
It is sweaty, lethargic and it felt even worse. It felt more hopeless. There’s no shelter. There is not really anywhere to go shower. Being homeless in the summertime, it’s rough and unpleasant.
According to NOAA, heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States.
As the summer gets hotter people experiencing homelessness are at high risk for heat-related conditions such as sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. For those with medical conditions, the heat is even harder to take. High heat can make it difficult to breathe, compromising health and the ability to move from place to place. And in urban spaces, the heat can be even more extreme since asphalt and concrete absorb heat.
When the summer sun gets over 90 degrees, Portland Rescue Mission opens our Old Town Burnside Shelter as a cooling area where men and women experiencing homelessness can find relief from the heat, water, and snacks. Our Burnside Shelter also provides showers and access to 24-hour bathrooms. With the generous support of our community, Portland Rescue Mission is able to provide dignity and hope to the hurting.
Having lived without, Angel knows the simple value of a shower and a clean pair of socks in the summer,
When you don’t have that stability, just having a shower or a clean pair of socks to put on, it means the world. It means the absolute world. It’s refreshing. It gives you hope too like it’s all right. You’re going to make it through.
While heat can bring more difficulties to those struggling on the streets it can also bring opportunities for outreach and engagement. A kind face and a smile, a cold bottle of water, snacks and a cool place for relief is the moment a life is touched. Who knows what that moment will bring? Restoration? A journey to on a new path?
Even as our donations go down during the summer, Portland Rescue Mission is still working to give hope and restoring hurting people’s lives.
Be part of touching a life. It is your donations that make a difference. Join with Portland Rescue Mission this summer.