Nonprofits helping fight the heat

Summer hasn’t officially started, but Odessans are already dealing with three-digit temperatures on a weekly basis.

The season has been intensely hot and dry, so much so that county commissioners had to pass and extend a burn ban in Ector County, and the heat is especially harsh on those who may be without proper air conditioning.

As hot as it is, Meals on Wheels in Odessa is hosting a drive for box fans to be sent out to their clients in need of cool air during this time of year.

“A lot of the older homes of course don’t have refrigerated air,” Meals on Wheels of Odessa Director Margaret Burton said. “The fans will help circulate air, and that’s the main thing.”

Burton said many of the organization’s older clients live in older homes without air conditioning, often relying on evaporation coolers, or swamp coolers, for air conditioning. But Burton said those often have to be given new filters every year and only last a few years. One of the other benefits of the box fans is they can be moved from room to room as the client needs them.

The box fans are being donated from several organizations and local people, Burton said. Many of those who are donating the fans are older individuals, she said, one woman even donated 20 fans herself to the organization Tuesday.

“They really don’t want the recognition, they’re just real nice wanting to help their neighbors,” Burton said. “That’s what Odessa people are kind of about, they help each other.”

One of the largest donations came from the Permian basin Corvette Club, which donated 25 box fans each to the Midland and Odessa Meals on Wheels.

“For those on a fixed income, such as the elderly, the cost of keeping cool in our oppressive summer heat can be a real struggle,” Permian Basin Corvette Club President Nita Evans said. “The ability to find a shady spot and create a breeze can make a huge difference in their well-being.”

One of the struggles of fighting the heat in the summer can be a high utility bill. For those who are struggling to pay the bills every month, Catholic Charities of Odessa are helping to pay those who struggle acquiring basic necessities.

“Many of our clients are on fixed incomes or limited income and, especially as hot as it has been, we’re gonna see an increase in the utility bills, and we’re seeing an increase in rent” Faye Rodriguez, Interim Director of Catholic Charities of Odessa said. “So we’re trying to help with what we can to help people to be able to get to stay in their homes for one, and to have the utilities, especially the electricity, so they can run their ACs.”

Catholic Charities helps to pay the bills through donations from various people and organizations. Anyone who needs help from their services can call them at 432-332-1387 or visit their office at 2500 Andrews Highway, open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Those wishing to donate box fans to Meals on Wheels can bring them to their office at 1314 E. Fifth St., open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Boxed fans wait to be delivered to clients that have been donated to Meals on Wheels of Odessa on Wednesday.

Mark Rogers|Odessa American

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