Beating the Heat

Submitted by bstephens on Fri, 06/24/2022

Debbie has faced a domino effect of challenges in recent years. Before she lived alone, Debbie took care of her mother in her home, but then her mother passed away. She had several ongoing health issues and then found out she had cancer which forced her to quit her job. There were so many challenges all at once, and this final one was the loss of her income. 
Kasey Mills, a caseworker with Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) Elderly Services Program, has helped bring some relief to Debbie’s life. Although she has been in remission from her cancer for about a year, Debbie has continued to struggle financially. She has a vehicle but can’t afford gas to get her to her appointments or to the grocery store so Mills provides transportation so that is one less thing Debbie has to worry about.  

As the weather started to heat up quickly in Eastern Kentucky these past few months, Mills noticed there was no air conditioning in Debbie’s home. Summer has kicked off with dangerous heat already in the region with several days reaching into the 90s with heat indexes in the 100s. 

“For Debbie, it has been one thing after another,” Mills said. “Without an income she can’t afford to buy an air conditioner.”

Mills reached out to CAP’s Operation Sharing Program for help. In nearly 40 years, Operation Sharing has received and distributed more than $2 billion worth of donated materials to more than 1.5 million people in the 13 Appalachian states, Arkansas, and Missouri. While the program partners with more than 1,300 nonprofits, community-based agencies, churches, and schools to get essential items to people in need in Appalachia, it also works with CAP staff to provide items to our participants in Eastern Kentucky.

Operation Sharing had received a donation of AC units and Mills was able to get a unit for Debbie and another elderly participant in need of air conditioning. For Debbie, something as simple as the AC unit is life changing.

“If she didn’t have an air conditioner, she would be worse off in her health, especially in this extreme heat,” Mills said. “She has nowhere else to go and stay. She would be left in the heat if we didn’t get her an air conditioner.”

As the mercury in the thermometer continues to rise from the temperature outside, Mills has peace of mind knowing that participants like Debbie are safe and comfortable in their homes because of CAP. “They were definitely blessed to have received those AC units,” Mills said. “It doesn’t matter who it is, it feels amazing to be able to help people in need.” 

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