Summer cooling assistance programs need donations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Summer cooling assistance programs need donations


It's starting to feel like summer!  And if you stepped outside Tuesday, you probably wanted to come right back in to cool down.  But not everyone is lucky enough to have air conditioning or even fans to help beat the heat. 

There are a lot of programs out there that can help folks that need to stay cool.  But all across Black Hawk County, many of the agencies that lend cooling assistance are in desperate need of donations.

Karen Cole spends a lot of time volunteering at the Salvation Army in Waterloo.  She likes the good feeling of giving back.  But her service also helps her beat the heat.

"It's awesome just being in the air condition and to volunteer," said Cole.

Just recently, a relative got her a small window AC unit.  But in her two story home, it doesn't do much to cool things down inside.  The heat is especially tough on her four grandkids.

"They're crying.  We let them run around with just a diaper on and do things to try to keep them cool:  damp rags, you know, try to get a fan to blow on them a little bit," Cole said.

And there are many families like Cole's that are sweating it out right now.  So it's no wonder that the Waterloo Salvation Army has been flooded with requests for fans.  Unfortunately, a lack of donations means there are no fans to give away.

"A fan doesn't sound like much but it's a lot when you've got an older home and can't get cool.  It really helps for the folks that have air conditioners to think about when they didn't and donate a fan.  That would be great," said Judy Gilstrap with the Salvation Army.

And since a fan only costs about $10, it doesn't take much to make a big difference in keeping someone like Karen Cole cool this summer.

We've learned the Cedar Rapids Salvation Army is also out of fans.  If you'd like to make a donation to keep families cool, you can drop off fans or cash donations to the Waterloo Salvation Army on Franklin Street.  In Cedar Rapids, call the Salvation Army at 319-364-9131.

The Waterloo Salvation Army opens its doors from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day to give people a place to cool off.

Other agencies that offer cooling assistance:

Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging in Waterloo

  • Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging in Waterloo:  The agency offers fans to those in need over age 60.    Utility bill assistance is also available to seniors by calling a counselor at the Aging and Disability Center.  That number is 319-272-1767 or toll free at 877-538-0508.  Both programs accept donations.


  • Eastside Ministerial Alliance:  Offers some utility bill assistance.  Individuals applying for assistance must be on a budget or have been served a disconnect notice.  To learn about the program, call 319-235-5580.  The agency also occasionally receives donations of fans and air conditioners to supply to those in need.  Currently, it has none give away.  Donations are being accepted of those supplies and donations to help with utility bill assistance.


  • Jesse Cosby Center in Waterloo:  Offers some utility bill assistance to those in need, dependent on financial situation of the client.  For information, call 319-234-1793.  Donations are accepted.


  • Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation:  "Beat the Heat" program offered.  There is some funding for utility bill assistance and for fans.  But currently, funds for utility bill assistance have run out.  Donations for that fund can be mailed to the center and designated for "crisis funds."  The corporation is based in Decorah, and has several other area offices.  To learn more, call 563-382-8436.


  • Operation Threshold in Waterloo:  Offers some utility bill assistance.  Currently funds are running very low.  To learn more about applying, call 319-291-2065.  Offices are also located in Buchanan County, 319-334-6081 and Grundy County, 319-824-3460.  Donations for utility assistance are accepted.


Powered by Frankly