Climate Disaster Response: Dangerous Heat Jeopardizing Vulnerable Communities


Throughout the month of June, cities all over the U.S. have been hitting record temperatures, with more rounds of intense heat predicted through July and August. The consequences are deadly: on average, more people in the U.S. die from extreme heat than any other severe weather event, including tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding combined, with poor and marginalized people particularly at risk.

Extreme heat has devastating and long term effects, from premature births, to lower test scores, decreases in productivity and increased risk of heatstroke among children and the elderly. According to the CDC, heat was a contributing factor in 1,577 deaths last year — up 56% from 2018, and our summers are only getting hotter. And like most natural disasters, poor and minority communities bear the brunt: surface temperatures in communities with higher rates of poverty can be up to 7 degrees warmer, compared to the richest neighborhoods during the summer months.

As life-threatening, excessive heat continues throughout the summer, our GO Teams are ready to get to work helping people faced with extreme heat in their local communities stay cool and hydrated. Here’s what our teams are working on so far:

Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP): With Arizona ranking as one of the hottest places ON EARTH from May to September and the high rates of homelessness in the Greater Phoenix area, there is a huge need for bottled water to help people stay hydrated and avoid heat stroke. HSGP is raising funds to distribute an actual TON of water in collaboration with their local food bank.

CORMII Community Development Corporation: As CORMII continues to serve food insecure folks throughout the summer, they are focusing on increasing liquids on hand along with frozen popcicles, freezer pops, and Italian ice. CORMII is also distributing “Heatwave Preliminary Precautious” literature, which provides information on keeping body temperatures stable during the heat.

CAFE Food Rescue: As rental prices and utility bills skyrocket, CAFE Food Rescue is working to meet increased requests for rental assistance and are fundraising for commercial refrigerators and freezers to increase food and water access locations.

North Orlando Oasis: In collaboration with Central Florida Mutual Aid, Oasis is working to provide fans, window a/c units, and assistance with utility bills to impacted communities. They are also working on fundraising for a community fridge to provide 24/7 access to cold produce, water, and other beverages.

Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless: As Austin AHH continues to provide food and hygiene items to unhoused community members, there is a dramatic rise in need for cold beverages.  Austin AHH is working to increase the availability of cold Kool-aid and water at three different locations to help keep unhoused folks cool and hydrated.

Please consider a donation to our Extreme Heat Response and help more folks survive a deadly summer.