Gwinnet County cooling centers and free fans.

While the summer in Georgia can bring on extreme heat, the Salvation Army will do what they can to provide help. Cooling stations have been opened across Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, and the greater Atlanta region. The Salvation Army on Sugarloaf Parkway (phone (770) 724-1660), as well as other charity locations in Metro Atlanta, are distributing free fans and opening the cooling stations, and they are made available to seniors, families, and anyone else who needs a place to go to get out of the heat and humidity.

The weak economy has caused some people to cut back on their use of air conditioners. Some families have also had their power disconnected due to unpaid bills. Both of those can put families at risk during the summer. So the Salvation Army centers are available to help people cool off, or receive a free new or gently used fan.
The Salvation Army is always there for anyone who needs help. Whether it is winter, spring, summer, or fall. During the winter they pass out blankets to help people keep warm. The summer programs include distributing fans and a place too cool off. From time to time some money may be offered to help pay for cooling or air conditioning bills, or repairs to equipment.

Many people of all income and backgrounds come to the center to escape the 100-plus degree heat and/or pick up a fan. Some people may even have an air conditioner in their home but it is really not enough during some hot and humid days. Sometimes even the smallest fan, whether set inside the house or a window unit, can be a big help.

Many residents try to stay indoors and avoid the humidity and heat, however they continue to come down to the Salvation Army to also get a free box fan. The fans can help keep electric costs down, as it may allow some people to cut back on its usage, as an AC unit is more expensive to run. The air conditioning unit is not enough and it costs so much to run it when the heat is extreme. So you can do things like keep your air conditioner at 78, and the Salvation Army fan can help by continuing to blow on individuals.





The number of units are limited. However the only qualification needed to get a free box fan is that someone needs to be hot. Priority is given to the elderly and people who don’t have air conditioning. The Salvation Army of Gwinnet County will try to ensure they come in and they’re able to get a fan.

Sometimes people are faced with an emergency as well, such as a broken AC unit or utility disconnection. One recent recipient had their air conditioner break a few weeks ago, so they stopped on down for a box fan while they were saving money in order to get it repaired.

Many items are donated by the community. Recently over 500 fans that were given out in Lawrenceville, Atlanta, and Decatur were the gift of an anonymous donor. Many donors or businesses will even make a cash donation to the non-profit. The Salvation Army will then use that money to buy the fans, usually at a discount. For example the charity has been able to go out to Home Depot and Lowes to purchase them and distribute to the needy.

Cooling centers are also open across Gwinnet County Georgia. They are normally open until 5pm on very hot days. Free fans given out until they are all gone. Some of the places to turn to for assistance include The Salvation Army Peachcrest, 3500 Sherrydale Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30032 (dial (770) 623-0943) as well as the Ray and Joan Kroc Center Community Center, 967 Dewey Street SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30310.





By Jon McNamara

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