Those who offer cool help from the heat now in need

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – If you have to be outside at all you know how hot it is out there!  For those without access to air conditioning or a roof over their heads, the heat of the day can be miserable.  Over the past month and a half the need to escape the heat has gone up with the temperatures.  Now a cooling station is open at the Salvation Army headquarters to help out.

"It will heat up to the mid 90's to 100 degrees especially if the humidity is as high as it has been," said Captain Mark Boatman with the Salvation Army.

The extreme heat can be dangerous, especially for the elderly and those in bad health.

"We've been very busy with the influx of people trying to find a cool place to stay and a cool place just to breathe," said Boatman.

Around noon every weekday the main dining room is transformed into a cooling station.

"We do see those who come in dripping wet because they've walked here to the cooling station," said Boatman.

He said the need is greater this year than it has been in the past.  A lot of folks don't come into the shelter until they are already too hot and will come in dehydrated.

Not that long ago the Salvation Army had a large supply of bottled water.  In the past month and a half they've gone through about 1,500 bottles of water.

"That was water we hold in our disaster supply just in case a disaster does hit locally," said Boatman.

So now that water will need to be replaced.  They are in need of water, sports drinks with electrolytes, canned food, boxed fans and other supplies.  With the heat in full force, they're also seeing in increase in the number of people who need a place to stay.

"Right now our men's dorm is full due to the heat and the women's is one bed shy," said Boatman.

Whenever there is a heat advisory Boatman said they open the shelter up several hours earlier than normal.  Hours at the shelter are from 3 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and from noon until 12:00 p.m. Sunday through Friday.

If you would like to make a donation for water, fans or other supplies you can send a monetary donation to:

The Salvation Army

P.O. Box 726
Jonesboro, AR 72401

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