The Summer Fan Drive provides new box and oscillating fans to seniors, adults with disabilities, and families with children in Central Texas. While a fan is a simple object, the impact of this program is monumental on the health and well-being of recipients. In 2017 alone, the Summer Fan Drive distributed 6,740 fans to over 3,200 households, impacting a total of 9,002 people, including 3,905 Central Texas children. These fans provide heat relief from dangerous Texas Summer heat, a service that is critical to vulnerable clients, especially the medically fragile, very old, or very young. Fans, which can lower the body’s temperature by up to 8 degrees, are also much more affordable to run at merely $0.02/hour, making them a sustainable option for those who cannot afford high electricity bills. The Summer Fan Drive goes beyond just fans, and “opens doors,” for the lives it impacts. In 2017, thanks to a partnership with Austin Energy, the Summer Fan Drive also provided 973 home weatherization information packets containing energy efficient light bulbs. Clients also interact with Summer Fan Drive volunteers, who are trained to check on the client’s welfare and learn about their needs. Thanks to volunteers, the Summer Fan Drive also made referrals to additional social service resources for 606 individuals. These referrals came from Family Eldercare volunteers, as well as the over 40 partner nonprofits that participate in the Summer Fan Drive, helping the reach of the program spread across 14 counties!
The Summer Fan Drive has a profound impact on the giving community in Austin as well. Over 70 “Team Drives” made up of corporate, church, volunteer, or individual entities donated 3,040 fans and $48,601 to the Summer Fan Drive program. This program allows these teams to connect with their community and provide a tangible impact on those in need through heat relief, an issue any Texan can relate to as incredibly important!
As the Summer Fan Drive enters its 28th year in 2018, Family Eldercare anticipates the need for this service to continue growing as the population around Austin continues to boom, including evacuees from recent natural disasters that set up residency and need services and relief. What began as a simple idea, a few fans, and a mission to make the heat safer for seniors back in 1990 has transformed thousands of lives with thousands of fans annually, and with the help of our community, will continue to do so in the future!