The American Red Cross kicked off its annual fan distribution campaign Wednesday, offering hundreds of free box fans to Wichita-area residents regardless of income level.
Red Cross Family Services manager Laure Kendall said the Red Cross plans to give away more than 900 fans through Aug. 25. Fans will be available each Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Midway-Kansas Chapter location, 1900 E. Douglas, to help Sedgwick, Harvey, Harper, Sumner and Kingman county residents keep cool while temperatures rise.
"Basically, what we are looking at doing is making sure that people have that fan to reduce the cost of their electric bill," Kendall said. "We'll find a lot of people who maybe just have a window unit and use it in another part of the house."
"And there are a lot of people that we see that don't have air conditioning."
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Last year, the Red Cross distributed a record-setting 883 fans. During the first day of this year's campaign, 70 applicants received fans.
Residents showing a valid Kansas photo ID and proof of residence can pick up one free 20-inch, manual, three-speed box fan.
There are no income guidelines to participate. One fan is available per household.
Wichitan Deborah Conley, 61, applied for a fan to help her daughter's family keep cool during the summer heat. This summer is expected to be average, with temperatures reaching the upper-90s and 100s in July and August, said National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Kleinsasser.
With many Kansans already struggling to pay their bills, Conley said the Red Cross free fan program is an important part of the Wichita community.
"Just knowing, when you don't have central air, what a different a fan can make. It's a great program," she said. "I'm very impressed."
For more information about the free fan distribution program, contact Red Cross Family Services at 316-219-4000 or visit www.midwaykansas.redcross.org.