As part of a coalition with the City of San Antonio Department of Human Services, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, Catholic Charities is continuing Project Cool, a program that provides free 20-inch box fans to older adults in an effort to prevent heat-related illness and deaths during the hot summer months in San Antonio.
The goal of the program is to provide 5,000 fans as a low-cost, low-energy means to keep seniors cool without incurring high utility bills.
The campaign kicked off on June 5 at the Guadalupe Community Center on West Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard.
Among speakers at the event were Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS; Frank Kiolbassa, Society of St. Vincent de Paul Board chair; and San Antonio District 5 City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales.
In order to protect the health of first responders, current safety protocols prohibit public visits to San Antonio Fire Stations. Unfortunately, this will prevent the San Antonio Fire Department, a longtime partner in Project Cool, from accepting fan donations at Fire Stations at this time.
Celebrating its 24th season, Project Cool is still going strong with organizations hosting fan drives and volunteers distributing the fans to seniors. The program reduces costs for seniors on a fixed income, but also enables seniors to remain independent and maintain quality of life.
Catholic Charities’ President/CEO J. Antonio Fernández, said, “Once again, we are so grateful to work together to keep our seniors safe and healthy, especially during the hot summer months. Everything we do to care for one another matters because when they feel loved, they feel valued.”
Melody Woosley, director of the City of San Antonio Department of Human Services, said, “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 years ago to serve our senior 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.”
It is estimated there are about 18,000 senior citizens in Bexar County that are living below the poverty level and cannot afford to run air conditioning. Over 8,000 heat-related deaths were reported in the United Sates, and about 40 percent of those – nearly 3,000 – were adults over 65.
Donations of 20-inch box fans can be dropped off at Catholic Charities, 202 W. French Place, 78212; Guadalupe Community Center, 1801 W. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., 78207; and St. Stephen’s CARE Center, 2127 S. Zarzamora, 78207. Drop-off times are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fans may also be dropped off at the following Department of Human Services facilities:
- West End Park Senior Center – 1226 N.W. 18th St., 78207
- Claude W. Black Community Center – 2805 E. Commerce, 78203
- Southside Lions Senior Center – 3303 Pecan Valley, 78210
- Bob Ross Senior Center – 2219 Babcock, 78229
Hours for drop-off at the Human Services facilities are 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Anyone interested in receiving a free box fan should call the United Way Helpline at 211.