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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Denton Basic Services Center manages free water coolers for those in need

Article Originally Published by Christian Hollingsworth on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Christian Hollingsworth on North Texas Daily

Denton Basic Services Center is running a summer water project to provide free drinks to local residents in need, with the help of Denton County Emergency Services.

The two organizations kickstarted the project by placing several coolers of cold bottled water and ice for the impoverished around the central Denton area. DBSC plans to extend the water project to the southeast Denton area in the future. Currently, the summer water project has seven coolers and more than 20 volunteers who fill up the coolers with free water on a daily basis.

“The ability for [people] to access water [fore free] is pretty hard,” DBSC founder Jane Piper-Lunt told NBC. “They’re not welcomed in businesses.”

The coolers are located at Big Fatty’s Spanking Shack at 220 W. Parkway, Zera Coffee at 420 E. McKinney, the picnic table near the pool at the back-east side of Quakertown Park, Thrift Giant at 1701 Brinker Rd., 1513 Willowood at the Church of the Nazarene and Gohlke Pools at 1115 Duncan St.

With the summer water project, DBSC aims to provide for local individuals and families without housing or resources who are in need of free water. Beth Varma, DBSC board member and Highland Village resident, said the organization has two more goals to meet in the near future.

“One is to get a full-size fridge at 220 W. Parkway, at Big Fatty’s Spanking Shack, and build around it with an attached food pantry,” Varma said. “The second and ultimate goal of Denton Basic Services Center in the near future is beginning construction of a Tiny House Village in Denton. This has been a long-time goal of Jane Piper-Lunt.”

Denton County provided almost 100 pallets of water to several non-profit organizations and local municipalities out of a state allocation of water received during the extreme winter weather event in February known as Winter Storm Uri. Some of these supplies then went to DBSC.

“The water we received was delivered after the majority of the public utilities in the area had resumed normal operations,” said Eric Gildersleeve, Denton County Emergency Management Coordinator and Local Emergency Planning Committee vice-chairperson.

Denton Emergency Management officer Mike Wiles said six additional pallets of water were delivered from DCES to DBSC on the morning of July 6.

“It was delivered [to DBSC] from Denton County Emergency Services thanks to Tom Newell and Diane Boles at Denton Community Food Services,” Wiles said.

In 2019, the food insecurity rate was 11.3 percent in Denton County, according to Feeding America. As of May 31, 2021, the total number of households actively experiencing homelessness in Denton County is 275, according to United Way of Denton County.

More information about the DBSC summer water project can be found on the project’s Facebook page. Community members interested in donating to the cause can fill the coolers with water and ice or donate to @Beth-Varma on Venmo, beth_varma@hotmail.com on Paypal or wright.deborah@live.com on Zelle.

Local residents in need of food or water can utilize Denton Community Food Center, located at 306 N Loop 288 Suite 400. The center is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. University students can also utilize the on-campus food pantry located at the back of Crumley Hall, which is currently operating by appointment only.

Featured Image: Red water cooler next to Quakertown park picnic table on July 8, 2021. Image by Laura Nunez

Source: North Texas Daily

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