“We already started sending our interns out because we were getting calls saying, ‘It’s so hot in my house, I don't have an air conditioner. I need your help,' so we said we got to launch it,” Director of Communications and Community Engagement Chanelle Zak said.
Interns Thomas Davis and Emilio Cabrera just started at the Bishop Sullivan Center and have been busy.
They’re putting together air conditioner units for metro area seniors in need.
“People are always grateful,” Cabrera said. “That's the thing, they say, 'Thank you so much.'”
The program usually launches after Memorial Day.
“This year we launched it about a week and a half ago,” Zak said.
They’ve had to start earlier because of the high demand for AC units.
“We've had these calls coming in and we kind of collectively have had to take a deep breath and say, ‘Oh, it's going to be one of those sun wars where there's going to be a lot of need,’” Zak said.
The center expects to install more than 200 units this summer, and Davis and Cabrera will be there to assist.
“If we can help just a little, that's what can give good motivation I guess,” Cabrera said.
“Coming over here and spending every day here, seeing what people five miles away are living like, it's eye-opening,” Davis said. “I think it’s kind of sad that a lot of people don’t know what their neighbors are living like.”
Although busy days are ahead for this team, it’s the stack of thank you letters and hugs they receive from the clients that keep them going.
“This one's in Spanish, 'Gracias por al aire,'” Zak said as she read a thank you card.
“I start taking in the words that seniors are saying, ‘You saved my life.’ They say, ‘I will remember you forever,’” Zak said. “That's humbling beyond words.”
In the past week and a half, they’ve already installed 13 units.
To learn more about the program and ways to donate, click here.