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‘Project Water’ – Handing out free drinking water to the homeless – Digital Journal

Toronto – While homelessness is something Torontonians are likely to see on the street every day, one organization has been helping to keep them hydrated during the hot and humid summer months.

The city’s front line workers who help the homeless rely on Project Water, a program that was started 14 years ago by the owner of Bargain’s Group.
On Tuesday, 170 agencies in Toronto received cases of water that they will provide throughout the summer to their clients.
Jody Steinhauer, mother of two, is the president of The Bargain’s Group. She founded Project Water in 2000 to address the serious health concern affecting those living on the streets of Toronto — dehydration. Project Water has distributed over 1.5 million bottles of water into the hands of the homeless in Toronto and surrounding areas through 170+ relief organizations and homeless shelters. She, along with her staff, work countless hours to make their initiative work.
Teaming with Nestle Waters Canada for the past six years, Project Water has helped to change lives for the city’s homeless.
“Bottled water is the best antidote to dehydration for all human beings and plays a key role in the continuing health and wellness of those who do not have access to portable water because they are homeless, explained John Zupo, President, Nestle Waters Canada. “Project Water is a remarkable initiative and it means a lot to be associated with this cause.”

While Tuesday’s Project Water distribution event takes place only once a year, it takes months of planning. This year, for the first time, agencies also were given summer survival kits with the bottled water. Kits will include sunscreen; a hat; reusable water bottles; first aid kit; hand sanitizer; a nutritional snack; a poncho; a cinch bag; and a hand towel. For the homeless with pet companions, there will be an addition of Off Leash pet treats, provided by Buddy’s Kitchen, a manufacturer of food for pets, whose involvement emphasizes the importance that animal companions of the homeless deserve the same basic essential needs as humans.
“With support from over 170 front-line social service homeless shelters and outreach organizations such as The Canadian Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and The Scott Mission; Project Water should be an astounding success that will engage and make change in the lives of the homeless community of Toronto,” said Project Water founder and president—Jody Steinhauer.
Street Health crisis nurse Anne Marie Batten said that the water handed out today “absolutely saves lives. The homeless have very limited access to water. Without Project Water I don’t know what we would do.”

On Monday, a storm drenched Toronto flooding many buildings including The Bargain’s Group. Employees worked into the wee hours to make sure that Project Water would go on despite the storm. The following photo essay shows the amazing work from over 200 volunteers that took place so that those in need will have water this summer.

To view the photo essay, click here.