Cindy Segotta-Jones

Cindy Segotta-Jones, superintendent of the Glendale Elementary School District, celebrates Christmas in July with a bottled water-shaped Christmas tree at the district office.

Hundreds of local residents and visitors flocked to Historic Downtown Glendale for the 13th annual Christmas in July this past month.

Hosted by the Historic Downtown Glendale Merchants Association, the event offered visits with Santa Claus and an early start on holiday shopping. Additional activities included make-and-take crafts, festive treats and a Cookie Crawl experience. 

But arguably most important was a bottled water drive to benefit the Maricopa County Heat Relief Network.

The merchant’s association had a goal to collect 5,000 bottles of water. But overwhelming support from the event attendees and the local business community resulted in the collection of 10,576 bottles of water, more than double the goal.

“Our hearts are filled with thankfulness for the outpouring of donations and the incredible generosity of our hometown community,” said Lorraine Zomok, president of the Historic Downtown Glendale Merchants Association.

The Heat Relief Network is a regional partnership of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG). Each year, MAG coordinates the mapping of the Heat Relief Network, a network of partners providing hydration stations, refuge locations and water donation sites throughout the Valley with the goal of preventing heat-related and heat-caused deaths among vulnerable populations and people experiencing homelessness. The water will be utilized for Glendale Fire Department heat relief programs.

Several businesses also participated in a challenge to build a Christmas tree shaped from cases of water. Those businesses included The Astrology Store, Bitz-ee Mama’s and Memory Lane Trinkets and Treasures.

The Glendale Elementary School District also participated in the challenge. In addition to collecting water, the school provided dozens of handmade cooling neck wraps for people in need.

A local Glendale couple, Rich and Lisa Fahey, also participated in the water drive. They rallied neighbors and daycare friends and collected more than 60 cases of water.

Plans are already underway for the 14th event, scheduled for July 11, 2020.

For more information about the Heat Relief Network, visit azmag.gov/programs/homelessness/heat-relief-regional-network. For more information about the Historic Downtown Glendale Merchants Association and shopping and dining in downtown Glendale, head to visitdowntownglendale.com or call 623-299-2060.