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Pierce County prepares for heat wave by ensuring people have access to water, cooling centers

Organizations will be handing out water and telling people where they can go for help.

TACOMA, Wash. — In Pierce County, there is a large group of volunteers and community leaders working to make sure people stay safe during the upcoming heat wave by providing water and a cool place to escape the heat.

At St. Vincent De Paul in Tacoma, the community resource center is open three days a week but they allow people to come pick up supplies every day of the week as necessary. 

"We handed out six cases of water today to probably about 40 people," said Dionne Jacobson, the mission outreach manager. Jacobson said about half the people who came by on Friday were looking for water.

"Today definitely with the increase in temperature you can tell people are gearing up for the hot temperatures this weekend and the amount of outreach teams that came and picked up water this morning was more than what we’ve seen in a very long time," Jacobson said. 

The Tacoma Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness is gathering volunteers for community outreach as the heat arrives. 

"It feels like a couple of weeks ago it was near freezing temperatures," said Rob Huff with the coalition. "We are more concerned once it gets into the upper 80’s to 90’s."

The focus of the coalition is to make sure people know where to go for help.

"We are recommending folks who are unhoused or really those with lack of access to A/C is to access your public library," Huff said. 

Huff is helping organize groups of volunteers to do outreach in the community which includes gathering water bottles to distribute. 

"People are gearing up but what we’ve found is people tend to hunker down a little bit so having that water available is key to making sure we are getting it out to the right places," Jacobson said. 

The coalition is looking for monetary donations and volunteers to help. For more information, click here

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