Phoenix Mercury Launch Fifth BG’s Heart & Sole Shoe Drive in Partnership with Phoenix Rescue Mission

As the Phoenix Mercury organization and concerned fans everywhere await the safe return of Brittney Griner, Phoenix Rescue Mission is partnering once again with Phoenix Mercury to bring back BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive this season.

When Griner noticed many of the homeless across the Valley without shoes back in 2016, she wanted to help. On her drive home from practice one day, she saw unhoused persons in the Arizona summer in their bare feet. She saw a need and was moved to action. Since then, nearly 2,000 Phoenicians have been served with shoes from the Heart & Sole shoe drive.

This season, we are once again working with Phoenix Mercury in Britney's honor. Mercury President Vince Kozar said, “The most important thing is that our friend and teammate is healthy and safe. We remain hopeful in the efforts underway to bring her home, and we are grateful for the outpouring of concern we have received. As we await her return, WNBA teams are collectively committing to serve the community in ways that BG would if she were here. In Phoenix, we are launching the fifth season of BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive, an initiative she founded in 2016 and cares about very deeply. BG has always led with her heart and in her absence, it’s our duty to do good in her name. We invite you to help in any way you can.

Not only did Griner lead the charge to collect new and gently-used shoes, each year she joined our mobile Hope Coach and delivered the shoes and other resources directly to individuals in need in the community.

How to help:

  • Donate new or gently-used shoes of all sizes throughout the 2022 season at Mercury home games at Footprint Center.
    • The first opportunity to donate will be Thursday, April 28, at the team’s home preseason game against the Seattle Storm.
  • Fans can also make cash donations directly to the Mission at:

Your support is making a big difference in our community, and we are #PrayingForBrittney!

Thanks to you, Sylvia is abandoned no more

Left at a park at age 11, Sylvia now has a place of her own for the first time

Sylvia was abandoned by her mom in a public park at 59th avenue and Bethany Home Road when she was just 11 years old.

“I just stayed at the park. I started using drugs and getting in trouble and I’ve been in and out of prison. My world was a little harder than most, but it made me who I am.”

It was when she got out of prison the last time in 2017 that you helped change her world for the better.

“I ran into Rich Heitz [Lead Street Outreach Case Manager] by the Glendale Library. I knew him from when he was on the streets, but now he looked happy. I’d never seen him smile so big!” Sylvia says with a smile to match. “He told me about how he got sober at Phoenix Rescue Mission and that he was working with them now.”

When Sylvia learned about our Glendale Works program, everything started to change.

“I started going regularly, when I was scheduled and even when I wasn’t scheduled, to be a standby in case somebody didn’t show up. I liked doing something positive. Then I started going to their food bank [Hope for Hunger Food Bank] for all their resources. They’re making big changes for the better in Glendale. I’ve been homeless since I was 11 so I’ve seen how much they help, how much has changed.”

Sylvia found she enjoyed doing honest work for honest pay, but she didn’t have any idea where it would lead. Since she became involved with Glendale Works four years ago, big things have happened. She has a new, steady job at the airport, a new puppy companion, Boo, that she loves very much and, recently, you helped her into a new apartment. With the help of our housing case management team, Sylvia now has a place of her own in Glendale for the first time – ever.

Relaxing in her comfortable apartment, Slyvia is no longer alone, thanks to her loyal companion, Boo.

“When they said I could get a housing voucher, I didn’t think it would work, but I put my name in there anyway. Thank God! I came from nothing and I’ve been trying to get it together on my own but it just hasn’t worked. I wouldn’t be here, in this place, without them.”

Thanks to you, Sylvia is abandoned no more.

“It makes all the difference to have somebody there rooting for you, telling you to keep on going. Even when it gets hard. I really do owe Rich, Brian [Housing Case Manager] and Gabe [Street Outreach Supervisor] a great, big thank you!”

Code:Red 2021 Breaks New Ground!

Growing collaboration made Code:Red 2021 a resounding success!

We all knew 2021 was going to be a record-breaking summer. With your support, Phoenix Rescue Mission went into overdrive, collaborating with local municipalities, making arrangements with service providers and beefing up our own staff to make sure we reached as many vulnerable people as possible before the temperatures turned deadly.

2021 Highlights:

  • Added 6 additional Case Managers and 1 Supervisor to our Street Outreach team – dramatically growing the number of solutions-focused engagements with people on the streets to 2,643. What’s more, a record 207 of those we reached were rescued in the nick of time. God is good!
  • In a new partnership with Maricopa County, we provided heat relief transportation each morning and evening throughout the summer to men, women, and families caught without shelter. Our driver safely shuttled them to and from the gathering point at the Human Services Campus to the heat relief station set up in collaboration with St. Vincent De Paul.
  • We helped create the Glendale Homeless Services Alliance, a gathering of multiple service providers in the city of Glendale whose goal is to provide a “no wrong door” approach to homeless services. Located at the Norton Ramsey Empowerment Center, those experiencing homelessness, unemployment, or other obstacles have more opportunity to receive help and hope than ever before.
  • As a part of the alliance, Phoenix Rescue Mission was able to begin offering 6-month emergency housing vouchers this summer to get qualified individuals out of the heat and into a space where they can put their life back on track.

Through it all, friends like you donated an incredible amount of water and other critical resources that we took directly to the streets. Over four months, we distributed 605,273 bottles of life-saving water, keeping our homeless neighbors safely awash in hydration – exactly what was needed during our extreme summer months.

Code:Red 2021 was a resounding success – and it’s because friends like you made it possible.

Thank you for helping keep our vulnerable neighbors safe!

Phoenix Rescue Mission Sets Record for Street Rescues

Phoenix Rescue Mission Sets Record for Street Rescues In May & June 2021

Street Outreach team rescues 120 men, women and children from homelessness since launch of Code:Red in May

PHOENIX (July 27, 2021) – As the Valley reaches record-breaking temperatures, Phoenix Rescue Mission is also breaking records. The Mission’s Street Outreach Team rescued a monumental 120 men, women and children off the streets since launching its Code:Red Summer Heat Relief effort in May.

“Our Street Outreach teams have been working tirelessly to find and rescue people from the hot sun and, frankly, the streets in general,” Nathan Smith, Chief Program Officer, said. “We knew they were making an impact, but it wasn’t until the numbers came in that we were truly blown away. In 2020, our average was 27 each month, but we broke our all-time record in May with 60 rescues, which is amazing. But then we hit that number again in June, and that’s when we realized our success was not a fluke."

"Because of the passion and care our teams bring to the streets, the partnerships we are building in cities around the Valley, and the strong support of the community, it makes sense that we’re making incredible progress."

Among the 120 rescues this summer was a single mother and her five children who found themselves in dire straits when a move to Phoenix from Indianapolis didn’t go as planned. Down to her last few dollars, the mother had only one option—to use her car for shelter, a deadly proposition in the Valley of the Sun. But thanks to the Mission’s Street Outreach Team, the mother and her children were rescued before they spent a single night on the streets. After helping the mother re-connect with family back home, the team provided bus tickets for them to make it home safely.

That mother’s story is just one of many rescues that could not have been possible without the recent expansion of the Mission’s Street Outreach Team, which now boasts a fleet vehicles capable of going where the need is at, searching for and rescuing vulnerable individuals and families like this mother and her children.

This coordinated effort is largely possible because of several public-private partnerships between Phoenix Rescue Mission and local municipalities, including Glendale, Goodyear, Peoria, Avondale, Scottsdale and Surprise. Each municipality works closely with the Mission’s Street Outreach Team to identify those in need and connect them with the appropriate solutions to help them re-enter society and reach their potential. Whether addiction recovery, mental health support, vocational development, food assistance or housing, the Street Outreach vans are available to pick up the individuals and transport them to either Phoenix Rescue Mission or an appropriate organization or destination that will serve the needs of that person.

The expansion of the Mission’s Street Outreach Team is the latest example of the nonprofit’s continued goal of growing and meeting the needs of those it serves by focusing on community impact in a fiscally responsible way.

“For decades, we have been providing Christ-centered, life-transforming solutions to persons facing hunger, homelessness, addiction, and trauma,” Nathan Smith said. “Our staff and volunteers are equipped with proven, time-tested programming to help those within our residential recovery programs undo lifelong strongholds that may be at the root of their suffering and find their purpose in life.”

More information about the Code:Red Summer Heat Relief initiative can be found here. Food, water, and all other heat-relief donations can be dropped off at the Mission’s Donation Warehouse, located at 3440 W. Lewis Ave., Building A, Suite G, in Phoenix.  The Mission is also in need of volunteers to help distribute vital, nutritious food to families in need at its Hope for Hunger Food Bank in Glendale.

For more information on what to donate or to start a Code:Red drive, please contact Catie Hammann at or 602-346-3347.


Phoenix Rescue Mission:

Phoenix Rescue Mission provides Christ-centered, life-transforming solutions to persons facing hunger, homelessness, addiction, and trauma. The nonprofit Mission, which has been operating since 1952, is asking the public for support of its many programs designed to transform lives, including Hope for Hunger Food Bank, Hope Coach Street Outreach, Temporary Shelter Programs, Men’s Addiction Recovery Program and the Changing Lives Center for Women and Children.


Media Contacts:

Ryan Brown, Phoenix Rescue Mission, cell: (302) 359-6780,

Josh Skalniak, Lambert & Co., cell: (480) 352-2050,

Filling our Streets with Hope – One Tote at a Time

When Diane Powers took her first summer trip on the Hope Coach, she thought she had an idea of what she would encounter. But what she saw spurred her to action.

My heart breaks for those who are in the heat without water, sunscreen, or a roof over their heads. I really wanted to help and so did the rest of my church congregation.”

With the support of Pastor Bobby Brewer, Diane organized the first North Chapel Bible Church water and Summer Hope Tote drive. That was five years ago and every year she and the rest of her congregation go all out seeking to save lives from our brutal summer heat.

“Most people make their own totes and we get a lot of donations of bags and things. Then a group of eight or so of us assemble any loose items into Hope Tote bags. By the time we’re done, we have nearly 250 cases of water and 80 Summer Hope Totes. PRM sends a big truck to pick everything up.”

Homelessness seems like such a big problem and many of us wonder just what kind of difference one person can make. Diane proves that it only takes one person to start a movement that saves lives.

“I want to get other people in my church involved in these projects and raise their interest level in people suffering. It’s important to not stay in a little box and not know what’s going on around you. You can provide more help on a larger scale when you have people who are motivated and get involved.”