The height of summer is also hot (an outsized heat for our northern latitudes) & it’s easy to get dangerously dehydrated in the midnight sun …especially without safe shelter to retreat to. People who are unsheltered in our city are at an increased risk for dehydration right now. Without shelter, our homeless neighbors also suffer sunburns, heat cramps, heat exhaustion & worse… even in Alaska. Being prevented from accessing basic hygiene facilities is also dangerous. Clothing soaked in sweat leads to rashes & skin infections. Trench foot is not uncommon for folks who face extended exposure to damp, unclean conditions. Trench foot leads to gangrene & – often – amputation… a permanent disability compounding an already hostile reality of marginalization.

Right now, the Bread Line’s soup kitchen, the Stone Soup Cafe, is serving more people than ever before & struggling to keep enough bottled water on hand. Everyone needs & deserves access to clean water but Fairbanks has very few resources for those who cannot afford to pay for the basic human needs we all share. If you can, please help by donating bottled water. There’s never enough.

Next time you’re out in public, look around for a source of free water. Imagine how you would find & carry drinking water, without a home. How you would keep it safe & clean. How you would wash your clothes – or your body – without the adequate resources to do so. There is no good reason for anyone in Fairbanks to not have regular access to clean water.

Fairbanks can & must do better than we have, in caring for our vulnerable populations. What we have been doing isn’t enough. We have to evolve & we have to do that together.