Project Water benefits the most vulnerable during hot summer months

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 1:52 p.m. June 28, 2021

Toronto Police is among several agencies that have joined forces over the years to provide water to the most vulnerable during the hot summer months.

Man in a police uniform holding a bottle of water in front of him.
S/Sgt John Stockfish of 13 Division

Established 22 years ago, Project Water is an Engage and Change program designed to help those in need endure summer hardships. 

The Toronto Police 13 Division Community Response Unit is collaborating with several community partners to distribute nearly 400,000 donated bottles of water to homeless shelters and outreach providers in the province.

“This has had a definite impact and benefit to those people that need it the most,” said S/Sgt. John Stockfish at a press conference on June 23. “We are very honoured to be part of this collective doing good for the community.”

Other agencies supporting the donation to Project Water include BlueTriton Brands, Fortigo Freight Services and The Bargain’s Group.

Jody Steinhauer, the President of Bargain’s Group, founded Engage and Change.

“I always say that nobody chooses to be homeless,” she said. “But if you are in that circumstance, then thank goodness as there are people like all of us today who are going to help you. I was told that more people die on our streets in the summer because of dehydration than they actually do in the winter.”

This is the largest donation of water to be distributed through the Salvation Army warehouses in Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa.

“We have got hundreds of team members on the streets supporting those that are experiencing crises,” said Glen van Gulik, the Salvation Army Ontario Public Relations Divisional Secretary. “It’s critically important that we provide them with the hope and service they need as quickly as possible. In this day and age, love, hope and support are things we can’t do without. Intentional partnerships are what makes a difference in meeting the needs of those less fortunate in our community.”

It’s estimated that a person needs at least three litres of water daily to maintain adequate hydration.

In the last two decades, over 3.5 million bottles of water have been distributed through the project.

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