"This is a 'fan club' everyone should join," the lieutenant governor
said at a Springfield news conference at the home of a recipient of
one of the fans. "We are hoping the funds donated can be matched
with individual and corporate donations to bring some precious
relief to our neighbors who may be sweltering behind closed doors.
Let's heed the lessons learned from Illinois' killer heat wave 11
years ago when more than 700 people died from heat-related illness."
Quinn announced a $10,000 grant from the Office of the Lieutenant
Governor to the Illinois Community Action Association to help
provide free fans to senior citizens and people with disabilities in
downstate Illinois communities. He also appealed to Illinois
residents to donate to the Illinois Fan Club and to take time to
check in on elderly family members and neighbors.
CIEDC's executive director, Angela Stoltzenburg, said, "Our share
of the resources is only $625, but we are hoping this will be an
opportunity for businesses and individuals to also make a donation
to us so we can provide this much-needed service to the community."
Anyone who wishes to make a local donation can contact Kelly
Comerford at 217-732-2159, ext. 241.
Quinn echoed these sentiments. "The $10,000 grant is seed money
from the Governor's Rural Affairs Council to enable ICAA to get the
Illinois Fan Club program up and running," he said. "My hope is that
the grant can be used by local Community Action agencies to leverage
corporate and individual donations as well as donations of fans for
distribution through Community Action agencies throughout the
state." Eligibility will be based on financial and health needs.
"Following the lieutenant governor's lead, we will also be
receiving $10,000 from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and
Family Services, for a total of $20,000," said John Colgan, vice
president of the Illinois Community Action Association. "We hope
these two donations will trigger additional contributions from
people all over the state of Illinois."
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Rick Campbell, director of energy programs at CIEDC, said, "As
the local agency providing energy assistance to those in need, we
are very pleased to be part of this partnership. We understand the
need, and we are always eager to help our local community."
In 1995, more than 700 died during one of our nation's worst heat
waves. With a 126-degree heat index on July 13, 1995, power outages
affected tens of thousands. Many of the victims were senior citizens
who had no fans or anyone to look in on them during the heat wave. A
landmark analysis of the tragedy -- "Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of
Disaster in Chicago," by Eric Klinenberg -- found that a decline in
social and family networks was a major cause of the disaster.
"This summer we've already experienced several days over the
90-degree mark here in Illinois, and the dog days of summer are yet
to come," Quinn said. "Join the Illinois Fan Club, and a grateful
senior citizen will become a member of your fan club. The Illinois
Fan Club exemplifies the good-neighbor spirit needed to prevent
suffering during these brutal summer months. No elderly person
should be sitting alone in a suffocating room without a fan and a
good neighbor who drops by every day."
For more information about the Illinois Fan Club, call CIEDC at
217-732-2159, ext. 241. The number of the fans is very limited, but
they are available to eligible individuals in Logan, Mason, Menard,
Piatt and DeWitt counties.
[Text from file received from Central Illinois Economic Development