Dry spells in Arizona hurt some more than others.

Churches in Ahwatukee Foothills have taken it upon themselves to help those without easy access to drinking water, mainly the homeless, and the community has responded.

Mountain Park Community Church and Mountain View Lutheran Church are both conducting a water bottle drive that benefits two Valley organizations, Phoenix Rescue Mission and Grace Lutheran Church.

Residents donated more than 460 cases of water to Mountain View Lutheran Church and the collection continues. Pastor Glenn Zorb said that 75 percent of the bottles will go to Grace Lutheran, located in downtown Phoenix, and the rest will benefit Phoenix Rescue Mission, also in Phoenix.

“Obviously the need is greatest in the summer,” Zorb said. “It doesn’t matter who you are — Christian, Jewish, atheist or agnostic — if you want to do this you can and the help to other people is immediate.”

To the southwest, Mountain Park Community Church has made a similar splash for the benefit of Phoenix Rescue Mission. Residents have donated 395 cases of water bottles since collection began in May. But that number isn’t quite where it has been before, one member said.

“We shoot for 1000 every year so we are falling a little short this year,” said member Barb Leclerc. “We usually get what we need in one month, so we are a little behind. But I expect it will pick up.”

The Phoenix Rescue Mission provides a variety of services, such as lodging and rehabilitation, to the homeless and others in need. From May 1 to the end of October, they hand out 4,000 water bottles each week. During the winter months, they hand out about half that, said Nicole Pena, director of donor care. Some of which are given to ministries and other agencies.

“We believe we collect the majority of water in the Valley,” Pena said. “What’s really cool about the Ahwatukee Foothills drive is that it cuts across denominations, different congregations. All the churches have come on board and to me shows how the community can rally together.”

Zorb believes the same.

“I think if people understand the need and what they do can make a difference, a vast majority will,” Zorb said. “We have been talking about it but also we stacked them all out in the lobby so people would know what we were doing. And when our members were picking up bottled water, they would pick up an extra case to donate.”

Both Mountain View Lutheran Church, 11002 S. 48th St., and Mountain Park Community Church, 2408 E. Pecos Road, will accept donations during normal office hours. For Mountain Park, that is Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For Mountain View, it is Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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