Wichita woman helps homeless keep cool during heat wave

Helping in the heat
Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - April Holt feels called to helping the homeless in Wichita since the start of the pandemic. When everything was closed, she would hand out sack lunches. Which is where her social media alias came from, Crazy sack lady.

“I’m just out here every season and this is the need right now, water,” said Holt. “During the winter, during the cold spell, it was putting people up in hotels and getting them warm.”

Holt has used that social media alias to bring awareness to the issues closest to her heart.

“There’s a lot of mental illness out here and that’s the majority of the homeless out here. They don’t utilize the services that are out here, they can’t, they don’t know how,” said outreach organizer Holt.

Especially in this weather that feels over 100 degrees, Holt wants the people who can’t beat the heat or escape to an air-conditioned house, to have some source of relief, even if it’s just a cold bottle of water.

“They have to have water, that’s the only thing that makes the difference between life and death out here, to have this water and to have something to eat,” said Holt. “We don’t have water fountains where they can go get a drink here in Wichita.”

Pictures of her ice and water stand at the intersection of Third and Topeka have led to hundreds of Facebook shares and numerous people in the community donating money or more refreshments. A couple of those people are Melissa Hartley and her seven-year-old daughter Lanie Caldwell.

“We raise money to give back to the community. This month, Lanie decided she was going to draw pictures and baked goods and she has raised almost 300 dollars, and she had the idea to come bring all the snacks and waters,” said Hartley.

“Sad for them, it makes me feel sad. Because it’s really hot and you never know what could happen and I just thought I could help them,” said seven-year-old Lanie.

Holt said she’s been out helping the homeless community, and she has no plans of stopping.

“I’m not going to quit unless there’s not a need for me to be out here,” she said.

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