AUSTIN (KXAN) — For Ailana Larson, the spinning blades of a fan are an escape from the Texas heat.
“It’s invaluable to me, I use that fan all the time.”
Larson has a heart condition and rarely uses the air conditioner in her apartment because it’s too cold, so her fans keep her cool. She received two fans through the Family Eldercare Summer Fan Drive.
The non-profit has already given out more than 4,700 fans this summer to seniors and adults with disabilities. They have 200 left, but still need more.
“We anticipate that we’re going to be distributing another 1,800 to 2,000 more fans, so it’s crucial we continue receiving donations,” explains Becca McPherson, director of development for Family Eldercare.
McPherson says the small, but powerful fans make a big difference.
“The American Medical Association did a study and determined that in high-humidity climates, a fan can lower the core body temperature by eight degrees,” says McPherson.
Larson can’t live without her fans. “We’ll wilt, and we can’t afford to wilt,” says Larson. “We’ll go to the emergency room if we do that, it saves our lives.”
Family Eldercare used to donate fans and window A/C units. But they say their volunteers had a hard time installing the air conditioners because of the condition of the window frames or homes. They now partner with other agencies to get A/C units installed for people who want them.
The Summer Fan Drive also helps connect seniors with other vital support services. Family Eldercare says they’ve been able to help almost 200 households with resources like grief counseling, Meals on Wheels, dental care, and help caring for family members diagnosed with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. They say a fan is a foot in the door to help families in other areas.
There are 45 distribution partners in 12 counties throughout Central Texas. Family Eldercare says you can pick up a fan at most fire stations, but they recommend you call their hotline first — at 512-459-4326 — to see what you need and where exactly you can pick up and donate fans.
The organization says they prefer monetary donations because they can buy fans in bulk at a cheaper price, and they can use resources to provide other services to low-income people. To donate, visit their website here.
If you’re unable to pick up a fan, Family Eldercare makes home deliveries once a week.