With scorching temperatures paralyzing the Chicagoland area this summer season, it has been hard for many to keep cool in the sweltering heat.
But Thornton Township has led the charge in keeping its most vulnerable residents cool during this season.
On Thursday, Thornton Township Supervisor Frank M. Zuccarelli and State Sen. Donne Trotter held a press conference to announce that over 300 air conditioners will be supplied to needy senior citizens and disabled residents.
The majority of air conditioners were funded by a $500,000 grant secured through Sen. Donne Trotter (D-17) office as part of the Illinois Violence Prevention program.
Two hundred air conditioners were purchased with grant funds, 100 were purchased by Thornton Township and the Best Buy corporation donated an additional 15 units.
“We (Thornton Township) thought we would serve a useful purpose to buy air conditioners for families especially during this current heat wave,” said Robert Storman, Thornton Township spokesman.
In order to receive an air conditioner senior citizens must have an annual income of $25,000 or less and disabled residents must prove that they are indeed disabled.
The air conditioners will be installed by the township’s Social Service Outreach team which consists of young people who have been trained and certified to install air conditioning units.
Participating youth will learn critical life skills and fulfill community service requirements, according to a township press release.
The Social Service Outreach team members range from ages 15 to 21 and are paid for their services.
“Whenever young people have something to do and they are making money and their mind is not idle—it deters them from wanting to be involved with dysfunctional activities,” Storman said. It keeps them away from gangs, drugs and etc.”
Besides installing air conditioners the team will also weatherize homes.
“When we install the air conditioners we seal and weatherize the windows” Storman told the Chicago Citizen. “So many of these windows are very badly deteriorated.”
Storman said the team also will weatherize other parts of residents’ homes including the doors and other windows.
Residents interested in applying for an air conditioner should call 708-596-6040 while supplies last.
By Thelma Sardin