The Salvation Army and Reliant announced the opening of cooling centers across the region to help the community combat high heat exposure.
The cooling centers, which will also provide bottles of water and portable fans, are part of the organizations’ joint commitment to underserved communities as high temperatures – and unemployment – continue to rise across the region, they said in a news release.
“Unfortunately, the health and economic crises have been especially devastating for our vulnerable neighbors,” said Major Todd Hawks, Area Commander for The Salvation Army of North Texas. “The burdens for those experiencing poverty and homelessness have been immensely magnified by the pandemic, and we’re serving new individuals and families who’ve never needed assistance before.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, The Salvation Army of North Texas has fed 10,000 people each week, housed 1,300 people per night, and served those facing economic hardship. Unfortunately, need in North Texas is only expected to grow.
“As temperatures rise, heat-related illness becomes a real threat in our community, especially for our seniors and vulnerable residents who are also navigating hardship from the pandemic,” said Elizabeth Killinger, President of Reliant. “As part of our annual Beat the Heat program, Reliant is joining with The Salvation Army to provide safe spaces for our fellow Texans to combat the extreme heat. No matter what summer has in store, Reliant will be here to support our neighbors and the communities where we live and work.”
The following service locations are currently providing heat relief to the public:
Arlington: 712 W. Abram St.
Dallas: 5302 Harry Hines Blvd
Denton: 1508 E. McKinney Street
Fort Worth: 1855 E. Lancaster Ave. and 3023 NW 24th St.
Garland: 451 W. Avenue D
Irving: 250 E. Grauwyler Road
Lewisville: 206 W. Main St.
McKinney: 600 Wilson Creek Parkway
Oak Cliff: 1617 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Plano: 3528 E. 14th Street
Pleasant Grove: 8341 Elam Road
Waxahachie: 620 Farley St.
The organizations said some locations will have outdoor cooling stations, while others are providing supplies such as boxed fans and bottled water as part of the drive-through grocery service.
The Salvation Army of North Texas will also mobilize emergency disaster feeding units (canteens) across the region to meet need in certain communities.
Each cooling station location is taking extra sanitizing measures and enforcing the use of masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and social distancing. Areas will be sanitized and wiped down frequently and between uses, the news release said.
The Salvation Army of North Texas, the region’s largest provider of social services, is joining forces with corporate partners, community leaders and public health officials to meet rising demand with holistic service across Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis and Tarrant counties.
The Salvation Army has provided more than $500,000 in rent and utility assistance for families experiencing a loss in income or lowered wages. In the first three months of the pandemic, The Salvation Army provided 51,000 bags of food to families through it 13 drive-through groceries.
Reliant is also working to ensure customers across Texas have the power they need, regardless of hardships endured from COVID-19. Since 2005, Reliant and its customers have contributed more than $11 million through the Community Assistance by Reliant Energy program for Texans who need help with summer electricity costs.
The Community Assistance by Reliant Energy program works with nonprofit social service agencies to provide funding to Reliant customers who qualify with assistance on their electricity bills.
For anyone who needs help paying their electricity bill this summer, call 2-1-1 within Texas or visit www.211texas.org
Reliant customers can also contact the company directly at 1-866-222-7100 or find additional information at www.reliant.com/care
– FWBP Staff