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​Partners unite to cool seniors over the summer months

July 12, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: In the Press, Breaking News

Partners unite to cool seniors over the summer months

Project Cool launched the free box fan campaign on June 4 at Guadalupe Community Center at a press conference with civic leaders. Bill Taylor from KENS 5 TV was the master of ceremonies.

As part of a coalition with the City of San Antonio Human Services Department, the San Antonio Fire Department, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Charities is participating in Project Cool, a program to provide free box fans to senior citizens to prevent heat-related illness and deaths during the hot summer months in San Antonio. The goal of the program is to provide fans as a low-cost, low-energy means to keep seniors cool without incurring high utility bills.

Celebrating its 25th season, Project Cool is still going strong with organizations hosting fan drives and volunteers distributing fans to seniors. The program reduces costs for seniors on a fixed income, but also enables seniors to remain independent and to maintain quality of life. The average fan costs $22 which many seniors may not be able to afford.

Lizzy Nemeth, Catholic Charities’ vice president of programs, said, “we worry about our low-income, senior population who live in homes with no central air conditioning, who live on a fixed income, or who live in isolation. Project Cool gives our volunteers an opportunity to visit with those seniors with a free fan to help cool their living spaces. We value our seniors for their contribution to our community, so we want to make sure they are living comfortably, especially during the hot summer months.”

Melody Woosley, director of the City of San Antonio Department of Human Services, stated, “The City of San Antonio’s Department of Human Services provides a variety of services to older adults in our community to ensure they are healthy, engaged and independent. Partnering with local organizations to serve the community is a crucial function we fulfill at Human Services. The City has partnered with Catholic Charities for Project Cool since the program’s inception more than 20-plus years ago to serve our older adult population during the hot summers. Over the past several years, we have distributed thousands of fans at our senior centers to help those in need.”

Chris Martin, president & CEO, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, commented, “Through our partnership with the City of San Antonio, Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul, Project Cool provides support to thousands of elderly and disabled individuals throughout our community. The fans help reduce the risk of heat-related illness and death in addition to reducing utility costs for those who may be living on a fixed income. Please call our United Way 2-1-1 Help Line for additional information on how to donate a fan or request a fan. Call specialists are available 24/7 to assist with Project Cool and many other community services.”

Valerie Finley, executive director for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, added, “It is our honor to participate in a truly collaborative effort with such amazing agencies. Together we are each able to bring a piece to the project and as community help, so many people endure the summer heat. This project shows how together we can accomplish so much more.”

Donations of five or more 20-inch box fans can be dropped off at St. Stephen’s CARE Center, 2127 S. Zarzamora St., Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or donations of less than five fans can be dropped off at any fire station (except Station 23 at the airport). Anyone interested in receiving a free boxed fan should call the United Way 2-1-1 Help Line to find a convenient site for pick up.