JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The temperatures are so hot a fan drive that was supposed to end gets extended.
Director of Community Impact for the United Way of Northeast Arkansas Tiffany Gipson said they normally end their fan drive in July.
She said they've discovered a need too great to stop what they're doing.
"Normally we're ending the fan drive at the end of July," Gipson said. "But the temperatures are so high still and fans are coming in. So, we want to be able to give our seniors the relief that they need and extend the program as long as we can to make sure they're taken care of."
Gipson said many Region 8 residents are unaware of the difficult decisions seniors are forced to make.
"Often times seniors have to choose between their medication or turning the air conditioner up," Gipson said. "So, those are things we don't think about. Sometimes seniors have to think about taking care of other people in their households. It's the difference between buying food for your grandchildren or cooling the house down. So, this is a great way for us to impact those households that are already using necessities like food pantries."
Gipson said many people believe air conditioning isn't something others go without.
"A lot of people are under the misconception that everybody has heat and air," Gipson said. "That's not the case. Some people only have the little window units. You can only imagine how hard it is to cool down a space with a window unit. So, the fans help move that cool air around."
Gipson said the temperatures Region 8 is currently experiencing are dangerous.
"So many of our seniors are on a fixed income," Gipson said. "It's very, very important that they have the means to cool themselves down. With a lot of our seniors, this is the only mode they have to cool themselves down. A heat stroke can happen so quickly. We don't realize how hot it is in our homes and if you don't have something to fluctuate that air around, it's very easy for someone to suffer from heat stroke."
One problem Gipson said they've encountered is the wrong type of fan being dropped off.
"We are thankful for all donations we get," Gipson said. "One thing we've seen this year is people are bringing in the little desk fans. We really need the 20-inch box fans. Those are the ones that get the maximum air fluctuation. Those are the ones our seasoned community members need."
Gipson said they have partnered with a distributor so that they can purchase the fans at cost if you want to make a monetary donation.
If you would like to help, you can drop by the United Way office at 407 Union Street.
Their number is (870) 935-3658.
For more information about the United Way, click here.
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