Grassroots group aids those unsheltered during extreme heat


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SALT LAKE CITY — The extreme heat is taking a toll, especially on those who are unsheltered.

A local mutual aid grassroots organization, the Coconut Hut, has been providing those who are homeless with water, other items and tools.

"We provide water bottles, electrolytes, like just those little packs that you see at the grocery store. We also have a gal that makes handmade … neck bandanas, so we soak them in ice water, give them to the folks," said Meg Orsini, a founding member of the group.

The Coconut Hut and its volunteers also provide food, first aid kits, tarps for shade, and at times items for drug overdose prevention. Orsini and a group of about a dozen volunteers travel to different parts of the Salt Lake Valley year-round.

An excessive heat warning was issued for Salt Lake County on Sunday. Orsini said some people are on psychiatric medication, but adds that some can be heat sensitive. "By the hottest part of the day, when we get out there, they're in crisis," Orsini said. Moving from location to location also adds stress. "It's not only a matter of the weather elements, it's the fact that these folks, they don't have anywhere to go."

The Coconut Hut works solely on donations and is currently hosting a virtual "Hydration Drive," asking for monetary donations or specific items on its Amazon wish list.*

Orsini said serving those who are unsheltered is humbling, but she is committed to helping them during the extreme heat.

"It's one thing to give support in form of resources. It's a whole other thing to give support and form of love and compassion and connection."

To learn more about the group, visit its Instagram.

*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Brianna Chavez
Brianna Chavez joined the KSL-TV news team as a reporter in July of 2023. She comes to the Beehive State after working for five years in her hometown of El Paso, Texas.

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