CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - "We want to get 500 fans and 100 air conditioners," said Liz Carter, Executive Director of The Saint Vincent De Paul Society in Cincinnati. "And that's going to just take care of the most dire circumstances."
A story like the fire in Covington, which investigators said started with a faulty window unit, is exactly why the Saint Vincent De Paul Society will not accept used fans or used window-unit air conditioners. The risk of fire for their already struggling clients, is too great.
Saint Vincent De Paul officials say the need has never been greater than this week of scorching heat. They have dozens of needy families on a list to get, either a brand-new free fan or window unit a/c. But as of Tuesday, supplies have run cold.
Michelle Jones said she is thrilled. "Oh, praise God for the air conditioner," she said. Jones got the call early Tuesday morning.
"As soon as they come in," Carter said. "Then you're on a phone calling a family, saying it's here, come and get it, so that's the happy part."
"I said you're kidding," Jones said, still in disbelief. "Because I never thought it was going to take place. I just thought it was a foregone conclusion, that they weren't giving anything out."
But her name had come-up on the list, to get one of the last two remaining free a/c units.
"Can you be down here before 4 o'clock? I said sure," Jones said happily. "They said we have a new air conditioner for you, so I boogied-on down here to get my new air conditioner."
Jones had just turned 62, lives alone, and has survived some incredible health challenges including brain cancer.
"I have a heart condition and so the air conditioning really helps me cope in the house," Jones said.
There are still 200 more clients on the list waiting for brand new air conditioners.
"When you go into somebody's home and you're standing there with a woman who's hooked-up to an oxygen tank and it's sweltering hot in her apartment and she's got a note from her doctor saying this lady needs an air conditioner and you say, we're gonna put you on the list and you're number 150," said Carter, who knows well how heartbreaking it can be, to look a client in the face and tell them, "you're on the list".
"That could be my grandma," she said. "That could be my next door neighbor, that could be my kid who's sick and wanting to do something to help."
The deal is one a/c unit or fan per family. That should be enough to cool one room, yet not enough to spike power bills.
"I'm very thankful," Jones said. "Very blessed."
Saint Vincent De Paul said it does not take used air conditioners. They could potentially be dangerous to families if they fail or catch fire as we saw with that window unit in the Covington fire.
Plus, it costs to dispose of and recycle them properly.
Saint Vincent De Paul's goal is 500 fans and 100 air conditioners. Right now, they're shy about 90 a/c units and about 370 fans.
So here's how you can help Saint Vincent De Paul help your neighbors. Drop a check or cash at any Huntington Bank location for the "Saint Vincent De Paul Fan Drive".
That money will be used to buy brand new box fans and window a/c units.
Or you can always buy a brand new one yourself and drop it off at their headquarters on Bank Street in Cincinnati.