Playing the Arizona Lottery now means supporting efforts to save lives in the deadly Arizona heat. The Arizona Lottery is committing $50,000 in a Gives Back sponsorship to purchase bottled water for distribution through the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Heat Relief Network. The network is a community effort that brings together the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care, cities and towns, Native nations, nonprofit agencies, faith-based organizations, businesses and individuals to provide resources to those who are vulnerable. The Heat Relief Network provides relief by offering cooling centers, hydration stations, and bottled water to those suffering in the extreme temperatures. Heat relief locations can be found on MAG’s interactive mobile-friendly map, available online at the Heat Relief Network page. The five agencies who were competitively selected to receive funding from this sponsorship are Community Bridges Inc., the Salvation Army, City of Phoenix, City of Tolleson, and Phoenix Rescue Mission. Each agency will receive $10,000 to purchase water for distribution. During a press conference held in July 2021, MAG Regional Council Chair and Mesa Mayor John Giles said that more than 300 people lost their lives due to the heat last year. According to the Maricopa County Public Health Department, there have been 16 confirmed heat-related deaths this year, with 138 additional deaths under investigation within the region. “The Arizona Lottery’s contribution helps fill an urgent need to provide relief for people, such as those experiencing homelessness and homebound older adults. We are especially grateful to the Arizona Lottery for giving back to our region through this generous sponsorship,” said Mayor Giles. Trevor Southwick, who has a lived homelessness experience, also spoke during the press conference and says that he vividly remembers one specific hot day in Arizona. “I was sitting in a park and I remember feeling like it was very difficult to breathe because it was so hot outside…..I was alone,” said Southwick. He added that there were no homelessness resources for him and no outreach teams giving out water. “I really want to stress how important this resource is, being able to give out water to individuals who really need it,” said Southwick. The $50,000 sponsorship is part of the Arizona Lottery’s Give Back sponsorship program and the funds will be used to purchase more than 15,000 cases of bottled water. MAG’s Regional Council voted to accept the funds earlier this summer. “I think when we listen to what Trevor spoke about on his personal story, you really don’t understand a bottle of water until you don’t have it,” said Arizona Lottery Executive Director Gregg Edgar. “This opportunity is something where we can have impact on people who are the most vulnerable in our community.” The Arizona Lottery noted that funds for this Gives Back sponsorship are in addition and apart from monies to be transferred by Lottery to Lottery beneficiaries under its statutory obligations, and are the result of increased ticket sales. To meet growing needs, MAG is expanding the Heat Relief Network. New partners are encouraged to join as a cooling center, which is an air-conditioned building where people can get out of the heat and cool down; as a hydration station, which is an indoor or outdoor location that provides water; or by collecting donations for the network. Those interested in becoming a partner can sign up on the Heat Relief Network page by clicking here.