DESERT HOT SPRINGS – Just before noon most weekdays, dozens of people line up at the Food Now charity in Desert Hot Springs. It’s 100 degrees and rising by this time of day. An umbrella was not enough to protect 72-year-old Mary Snow.
“I was standing in line at the food bank. I felt dizzy and I went up to the door and I asked the lady if I could come in, which they let me do another time before. She said ‘no, you have to wait until 12 o’clock.’ I felt dizzy, walked away from the crowd, out across the parking lot and hit the ground, passed out,” Snow recalled.
Around 150 people are given food here each day. This charity is stretched to the limit. There is a little bit of shade from nearby trees people can use, but the food bank wants to put an awning with some misters to help them out.
“We had called paramedics twice last week on the elderly not being able to tolerate the heat,” Food Now program director Mary Prado says.”We would appreciate some help. We’re going to see if the county can help us. I know we went to the city and the city right now is broke. We can go out and ask the community if anybody out there can contribute.”
Illa Stewart says the heat has taken her out too.
“Everything turns black. It turns black and you know that you’d better do something now, quick,” explains Stewart.
Minutes after we talked, Illa collapsed from heat stroke. We helped her up, and walked her inside the food bank. But no matter how hot it gets, she’ll be back next week. Because as much as Stewart needs shade, she needs food just as much.
If you want to help Food Now with donations, call 760-329-4100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can also be dropped off at the food bank located on Palm Drive and 4th Street in Desert Hot Springs.