As temperatures rose to 106 in Dallas on Monday and topped 100 for the 25th consecutive day on Tuesday, officials at AIDS Interfaith Network were concerned about their low-income and homeless clients with HIV.
The Centers for Disease Control warns that people with chronic medical conditions such as HIV are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Also, they may be taking medications that can worsen the impact of extreme heat. The CDC recommends drinking more water than usual and not waiting until thirsty to drink.
Travis Gasper, AIN’s director of development, put out a call to local businesses. He said that within an hour, Caven Enterprises responded with a donation of 600 bottles of water to hydrate clients in the extreme heat.
The end of the month is AIN’s busiest time because clients line up to get their DART passes.
“These passes provide access to life-saving medical care, meals and social services,” said AIN Associate Director Edgar Carmona. “Our staff distributes passes as quickly as possible, but it’s not unusual to have lines outside AIN throughout most of the day. We knew we had to do something to help them survive in this heat.”
Gasper said that within an hour of sending out an email with the urgent request, longtime Caven employee and director of events Chris Bengston replied that Caven would donate 25 cases of water. (Earlier this week, Bengston was named the female grand marshal of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.)
On Wednesday morning, AIN staff picked up the water from one of Caven’s Cedar Springs Road clubs. They will distribute the bottles to clients receiving bus passes at AIN on Thursday and Friday.
“Words cannot express our gratitude to Chris and Caven,” said Gasper. “Their generosity, without even hesitating, will benefit hundreds of people this week in Dallas. We are lucky to have such caring businesses operating in our community.”