Fan drive helping area residents stay cool

With temperatures already reaching 100 degrees in West Texas, the local Salvation Army is doing its part to help the area's low income families with its annual fan drive.“The demand has been high and we haven't even officially entered the summer season,” Ada Lafler, a social worker with the local charity, said. “We don't have any fans left in stock and we gave out our last one more than a week ago.”Lafler said recent rains and thunderstorms have provided some level of relief for area families forced to struggle through the scorching heat without air conditioning. However, as the mercury continues to climb, those cool periods will get more and more rare.“For a lot of people, fighting the heat is simply a matter of turning down their thermostats a few degrees,” Lafler said. “Living here in West Texas, those people who have air conditioning tend to take it for granted. Unfortunately, there are many low income families in the area that don't have that luxury.”The annual fan drive collects donated fans and money to purchase new fans, which are then distributed to area residents in need of help in beating the summer heat, according to Salvation Army officials.“We’re trying to target the elderly because they are the most susceptible to heat related illnesses,” Lafler said. “We’re also trying to target families with children 5-years-old and younger and who are at home through the day during the summer months.“Donations can be made in several different ways. Donors can bring in their used fans that are in good, serviceable condition, or they can make a monetary donation. The box fans that we normally purchase usually run anywhere between $20 and $30. It all depends on what kind of fan that person needs.”Donations can be made by purchasing fans and taking them to the Salvation Army office — located at 811 W. Fifth Street and open from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. with an hour break for lunch at noon — or earmarking monetary donations for the fan drive.Those in need of fans can also apply for assistance at the Salvation Army Office on Mondays through Fridays, during the same hours. For more information, contact Lafler at 432-267-8239.