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Heat Advisory Compounds Need for Fan Donations

Scott Harvey

For the first time this summer, the Salvation Army in Springfield opened its cooling center due to the extreme heat. And with the extension of a heat advisory by the National Weather Service, the center will again be open tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Jeff Smith, social services director for the Salvation Army, says one of the greatest needs for donations last week and this week have been fans.

“There are people who do not have air conditioning, who need for it to be a little bit cooler,” Smith says.

Smith says he recalls one summer growing up when there was extreme heat in Missouri and having a fan for his brother and himself made it bearable to sleep.

“Fans were a necessity,” Smith says. “They weren’t a want, they were a need because we needed to be cool.”

Smith says both homeless people and those without air conditioning come into the cooling center.

“We’ve had a couple of people come in today, but we haven’t had a big influx today,” Smith says. “It just kind of depends on how tomorrow and the next day goes. Sometimes people are willing to tough it out the first day and sees how the weather goes, and if it stays hot we’ll see more people come by.”

Smith also reminds residents to check on elderly relatives and neighbors who may need assistance.

Heat index values across the Ozarks ranged from 97 to 108 early Monday afternoon, according to the NWS. The cooling center is only opened during heat advisories or excessive heat warnings issued by the weather service.

If you’re in need of a fan, you can call (417)-862-5509 to check on availability. To donate a fan, bring them to the Salvation Army at 1707 West Chestnut Expressway. That’s also the site of the agency’s cooling center.

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