Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Cooling donations relieve summer suffering

Summer's heat can harm the ailing and poor

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Thanks to public generosity this summer, the poor and sickly of Butler County have a better chance to survive the heat and humidity.

(Michael Snyder photo)
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        County residents who qualify due to illness and who can't afford window air conditioners or fans are receiving donated cooling units collected by Mercy Franciscan at St. Raphael's.

        “There are so many people with health problems who can't afford fans or air conditioning,” said Lisa Bentley, spokeswoman for the Mercy Health Partners.

        The annual fan and air conditioning drive, which runs from June 1 to Aug. 31, strives to supply relief to Butler County residents who have asthma, emphysema, heart disease or seizures; children with birth defects; or people over 65 who suffer health complications due to the heat.

        Officials at St. Raphael's accept used fans and window air conditioning units, or cash donations that are then used to buy cooling units for needy residents. Last year more than 100 families received free cooling systems.

        This year the goal is to supply 150 families, and more contributions and donations are needed, said Sauni Bolin, executive director of St. Raphael's.

        “The demand is always higher than supply, but people are very generous,” said Ms. Bolin.

        She worries as the hottest, most humid summer days have arrived and those living in buildings with poor air circulation feel the brunt of the heat.

        “We are getting into the hot stuff now,” she said of rising temperatures. “I don't know why, but there seems to be more people with serious conditions this year.”

        One of the recipients is a 69-year-old Hamilton wom an who lives on Social Security while helping to support six other family members in her large house in the northwestern section of the city.

        The woman, who asked not to be identified, recently received a free window air conditioner that has greatly eased her chronic and at times life-threatening health problems.

        “I suffer from a heart condition and asthma. The air conditioner is wonderful. It has helped me with my breathing,” the woman said.

        Fans and air conditioners, or cash donations, can be dropped off between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at St. Raphael's, 233 Dayton St. in Hamilton. For information, call 863-3184.

        Other drop-off centers are: the Kroger store on Erie Boulevard in Hamilton, or the Kroger on Princeton-Glendale Road in the Beckett Ridge neighborhood of West Chester.




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