Thirty families on Tuesday received relief from the heat with air conditioning units donated by Realtors working with the Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command.
The Leadership Tomorrow 7 Team, a committee of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of Realtors, collected funds and donations for the units while the Salvation Army arranged for the families to receive them.
Families who had an infant living at home, were caring for an elderly or chronically ill person or met certain other criteria were eligible to receive the air conditioners.
Maggie Flores, the first woman to pick up her air conditioning unit on Tuesday, knows the dangers that overheating can cause. A caregiver for the elderly and handicapped, Flores was thankful for the relief.
“I live in an old house with a central air conditioning unit that has gone out three or four times,” Flores said. “They told me I need about $7,000 to fix everything. I don't have $7,000.”
On Monday, a heat alert was issued in Oklahoma after nine people came down with heat-related illnesses in a 24-hour period.
Last year, 33 people died between May and September from heat-related symptoms, according to the state Health Department. The number of deaths peaked during the last week of July. More than a third of the deaths happened while the victims were indoors.
Charlene Blakemore said Tuesday she had been sick to her stomach because of the heat. Her air conditioning went out recently and few windows in her house will open to circulate air.
“I'm just so appreciative,” Blakemore said. “I wish a lot of places could give these out but I know they can't.”