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Volunteers helping neighbors keep cool in heat

One a 90-degree day, “Meals on Wheels” volunteer Joan makes sure clients getting a hot meal while keeping cool.

“I don’t think there are too many people that don’t have air conditioning, but it’s still a check,” she says. “It’s still to see if somebody’s up and moving.”

She drives about two hours until a dozen people on her South Bend route are fed. Along the way, checking for the sound of air conditioning and fans.

"I'll usually say are you doing okay and how's that air conditioning working,” she asks? “Something to make sure you get a sense that they're comfortable. You can tell if they come to the door and they're perky."

Many deliveries go to seniors who live alone.

In this heat, she absolutely cannot go out,” Neva Kubik says about her mom, who uses the service. “It's too dangerous for someone her age. And we are very grateful."

Door-to-door service is a chance to people about the Energy Assistance Program. A one-time payment of $75 dollars to help summer electric bills. It's a program that helps thousands of families each year.

“There is not one specific face. That’s the beauty of energy assistance,” says Ingrid Simmons, director of REAL Services’ Energy Assistance Program. “We have the families that always need the assistance because their income is so low.”

Organizers say it's important to tell people about energy assistance when they're delivering meals because households don’t have to have a disconnect notice. A person just has to be income eligible. For a one-person household about $1500 dollars a month qualifies. It’s help offering a different kind of warmth.

"We get those cards back that say I don't know what we would've done without energy assistance,” Simmons says.

For more information about energy assistance with REAL Services, visit https://www.realservices.org/_wp/index.php/community-services/energy-assistance/.

Mayor Tim Neese announced the City of Elkhart will offer a temporary cooling center as a result of the unusually high temperatures expected this week. The cooling center will be located at the Elkhart Central Fire Station in downtown Elkhart and will be open during normal business hours.

8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday, July 21 through Saturday, July 23

Elkhart Central Fire Station-- 500 East St. Elkhart

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