Help Emergency Heat Relief Fund Give A Cold Shoulder To Rising Temperatures

Weather guessers have been panting for the thermometers to hit the 100-degree mark. That number was achieved over the weekend, but that has only heightened the problem for many within the community — the vulnerable. Who are these vulnerable types? They are the poor, the elderly, the sickly and people whom you will probably never know.

One woman recently told how, to save money, she keeps her thermometer above the 85-degree mark in her home and has a floor fan moving at a high rate. When she moves to her bedroom at night, she takes the fan with her because she can’t afford a second fan. On a very tight budget, she puts up with the toasty conditions, so she can afford other things like food and medicine.

Not everyone has the luxury of even one floor fan, an A/C or a healthy enough constitution to put up with such conditions. In fact, North Texas summer heat is a life-endangering situation.

According to Dallas County Health & Human Services Director Zachary Thompson, “When citizens don’t have air conditioning in their homes, they are left in a potentially life-threatening situation.”

That’s where the Emergency Heat Relief Fund comes in. Launched in 2006 by The Dallas Foundation, it was created to provide air conditioning units for the “vulnerable.”

In 2011 The Meadows Foundation and other funding groups partnered up with The Dallas Foundation to “encourage additional community investments.”

Mary Jalonick (File photo)

Mary Jalonick (File photo)

According to TDF President/CEO Mary Jalonick, “Extreme summer heat is here and, unfortunately, many around the city don’t have the means to keep their families cool and safe. By contributing to this fund, Dallasites are tangibly helping their neighbors in need of help right now.”

Over the years nearly $200,000 has been provided for the Dallas County Health & Human Services to “install over 1,100 air-conditioning units.”

But before dismissing this one off as checked off, realize that the summer is only halfway over and the heat is really starting to settle in. Unfortunately, “high demand has depleted the current inventory, and DCHHS needs funding to buy more air-conditioning units for the hot summer days ahead.”

So, why not skip an icy Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino Macchiato for a week and make a donation. You could be contributing to a lifesaving event.

Area Foundations Get A Pat On The Back From Dallas County Commissioners for “Emergency Heat Relief” Efforts

Old timers are recalling the past heat waves of the 50’s and 80’s. Yup, it was pretty darn hot back then. But it’s the 21st century and the fact that there are those without air conditioning is an unbelievable nightmare. Just to experience a 45-minute brown out is excruciating.

The reality is that there are many among us that have no type of cooling for their homes. So often they are the ones who need it the most — the low-income, the elderly and shut-ins.

Monica Egert Smith, Mary Jalonick, Dr. Elba Garcia, Zachary Thompson, Linda Evans, Kathy Smith

To help these folks in this killer summer, the Meadows Foundation, the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Dallas Foundation and the Harold Simmons Foundation have pooled their resources and purchased air conditioners for installation by the Dallas County Health and Human Services personnel for those “suffering from the extreme heat in our community.”

It all began in 1999 when DCHHS approached The Meadows Foundation for assistance. That first year the Foundation awarded $5,376 for the purchase and installation of 22 A/C’s. Fast forward to 2003 when the Foundation provided $50,000  resulting in 200 air-conditioning units.

“Every summer, people suffer from the extreme Texas heat,” said Meadows Foundation President and CEO Linda Perryman Evans.  “We realized that the best way to help the citizens of our community was through a collaborative effort that would bring more resources to focus on heat relief.”

Through her relationships with the area’s finest foundations, she created a partnership to collaborate on this situation.  Through this team of foundations, $766,726 has been raised to support the heat-relief effort. That’s 4,273 A/C units!

This month an Emergency Heat Relief Fund has officially been established at The Dallas Foundation starting with a $10,000 seed grant from Meadows.

“Our goal is to have $100,000 per year in the fund to enable DCHHS to purchase and install at least 500 air-conditioning units per year to address needs,” said Dallas Foundation President Mary Jalonick.  “We invite individuals, corporations, and foundations to join us in this life-saving effort and encourage everyone to contribute to the fund.”

Tuesday the Dallas County Commissioners Court recognized these outstanding foundations for their working together with the DCHHS. How right that was.

Photo provided by The Meadows Foundation