Local DJ helps keep the homeless hydrated as triple digits near
By Andrew Christiansen,2023-06-05
It was another hot day at Santa Rita Park in Tucson on Sunday.
27-year-old Manuel Iniguez Gonzalez, sat against a fence near the baseball field with his shirt off.
Handling the heat is a day-to-day struggle he has been going through for the past two weeks since he started living at the park.
“Sometimes you pass out. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to pass out. You’ve got to be careful,” Iniguez Gonzalez said.
Overall, he’s been homeless for about three years and said sometimes he goes days without water.
He said sometimes he’s gotten sick and even ended up in the hospital with high blood pressure because he was dehydrated.
“It’s very important to drink water and everything. You get dehydrated,” he said.
Jahmar Anthony has made it his personal mission to help homeless people who are battling dehydration.
“I have a lot of friends that have gotten homeless especially through COVID. A lot of bad things where people lost their jobs, people were unable to work,” Anthony said.
He’s a local DJ and the founder of Deejays Against Hunger.
He’s been going out to the park and giving out food, clothes, and water to the homeless for about ten years.
“When you’re giving them pizza, you’re giving them water, sometimes you sit and you talk with them and they’re telling you different things about their life, and where they’re from, how far they came and how they ended up in Tucson. So, you get to know people on a one-on-one basis more than just yo here, take this,” he said.
On Sunday he handed out about a thousand water bottles at the park and also gave some to a local shelter.
“It’s just my way of just trying to say let’s fight dehydration,” he said.
The Arizona Department of Health Services says Pima County has the second highest heat related illnesses since 2017.
They say from 2018 to 2021, the number of heat-related deaths in Pima County went up.
As Anthony handed out water, he was hoping if he was ever in the same situation as the homeless he serves, somebody would help him out.
“If I ever become homeless or one of my children become homeless, hopefully someone will show that same kindness to them,” he said.
Homeless people like Iniguez Gonzalez said it was the lifeline they needed to keep on going.
“It has me feeling good, you know?” Iniguez Gonzalez said.