Texas has seen increased heat in the past weeks, with recent temperatures reaching triple digits. With the summer heat still ahead, a North Texas nonprofit is taking donations of air conditioning units and fans to help residents in need. The United Way of Tarrant County is specifically looking to help vulnerable elderly Texans.
The campaign, called the Beat the Heat Collection Drive, is accepting standard wall cooling units and new or gently used fans until September 22, according to the June 30 announcement. Fans can be box, tower, or pedestal fans.
Shakita Johnson, the Executive Director for the United Way of Tarrant County’s Area Agency on Aging, shared that heat waves can be dangerous for elderly citizens.
“For most of us, the record-breaking heat is little more than a nuisance,” Johnson said in the United Way announcement. “We can usually find relief in our air-conditioned offices or homes. However, for our older population without air conditioning or fans, this heat can be more than just a hardship. Excessive outdoor temperatures can push indoor ambient temperatures to dangerously high levels for seniors. That’s why it’s so important for older adults to have access to fans when air conditioners are unavailable.”
The fans and AC units collected will be distributed by the nonprofit to Texans in need through multiple agencies, including local fire departments, the Aging and Disability Resource Center, and the United Way of Tarrant County’s AAA. They can be donated in person, bought and shipped to United Way, or purchased through the Amazon Wishlist. Monetary donations are also accepted, according to the announcement.
An East Texas nonprofit organization, PATH, hosts an annual donation drive to collect box fans for local communities. Each year they are able to give fans to hundreds of Texas families, according to the PATH website.
The PATH Summer Fan Drive also accepts monetary donations.
“East Texas summers are filled with so many joyful things: fire pits and fireworks, camping and cookouts. However, the summer heat can be a hidden danger for our most vulnerable community members: the young, elderly, and health-compromised,” the organization’s website states. “Plus, when paying bills every month is already a struggle, air conditioning can be an unaffordable luxury.”
Through a partnership with Home Depot, people can purchase a fan to donate for $22.
The Salvation Army of North Texas provides another way to help vulnerable Texans deal with summer heat; cooling stations. Centers around North Texas will be used as cooling stations throughout the summer, according to the agency’s website.
“As temperatures rise, heat-related illness becomes a real threat in our community, especially for vulnerable communities such as seniors, the very young, people with chronic diseases, and those experiencing homelessness and poverty,” the Salvation Army website shares.
Some locations will also provide water, food pantries, or other resources. Salvation Army cooling stations include the Lewisville Service Center, Garland Corps, the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center in Dallas, Denton Corps, and more.