FEATURED: The McAllen Rotary Club, in partnership with H-E-B and the Salvation Army in McAllen, on Thursday, July 27, 2023, will be hosting “Help Families Stay Cool This Summer,” a regional community service by those three organizations to raise awareness and prevent heat illness during the ongoing sweltering summer hot spells in Hidalgo County. As part of the event, which will take place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., families will drive up to the Salvation Army’s facility, located at 1600 N. 23rd in McAllen, and one indoor fan will be donated per vehicle by being placed inside the trunk.
Graphics By ANTHONY ACOSTA
McAllen Rotary Club to donate one indoor fan each to 800 needy families on Thursday, July 27, as part of an effort to raise awareness about and prevent heat illnesses during sweltering summer
The McAllen Rotary Club, in partnership with H-E-B and the Salvation Army in McAllen, on Thursday, July 27, 2023, will be hosting “Help Families Stay Cool This Summer,” a regional community service by those three organizations to raise awareness and prevent heat illness during the ongoing sweltering summer hot spells in Hidalgo County.
As part of the event, which will take place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., families will drive up to the Salvation Army’s facility, located at 1600 N. 23rd in McAllen, and one indoor fan will be donated per vehicle by being placed inside the trunk.
The charitable event, known as “Help Families Stay Cool This Summer”, is open to any resident of Hidalgo County. The driver of each vehicle must provide a valid Texas driver license and a recent utility bill to prove they do live in Hidalgo County.
“This initiative is more than just a fan drive, it’s about community support and lending a helping hand to those in need during the hot Texas summer,” said Mónica Rodríguez, President, McAllen Rotary Club. “We believe in the strength of our community and this is our way of showing it.Mónica Rodríguez, President, McAllen Rotary Club
“A heartfelt thank you goes out to H-E-B for their continued support to help our community stay cool this summer,” she added.
The McAllen Rotary Club is the basic unit of Rotary International activity, and each club determines its own membership.
Rotary International is one of the largest service organizations in the world. Its stated mission is to “provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through [the] fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders”.
It is a non-political and non-religious organization.
Membership is by application or invitation and based on various social factors. There are more than 46,000 member clubs worldwide, with a membership of 1.4 million individuals, known as Rotary members.
According to John Hopkins Medicine:
Exposure to abnormal or prolonged amounts of heat and humidity without relief or adequate fluid intake can cause various types of heat-related illness.
There are three types of heat-related illnesses: heat cramp, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
• Heat cramps are the mildest form of heat illness and consist of painful muscle cramps and spasms that occur during or after intense exercise and sweating in high heat.
• Heat exhaustion is more severe than heat cramps and results from a loss of water and salt in the body. It occurs in conditions of extreme heat and excessive sweating without adequate fluid and salt replacement. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is unable to cool itself properly and, if left untreated, can progress to heat stroke.
• Heat stroke, the most severe form of heat illness, occurs when the body’s heat-regulating system is overwhelmed by excessive heat. It is a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate medical attention.
According to the Texas Department of Health Services:
People must aware of the signs of heat illness and take precautions to protect themselves from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The elderly, young children, people with chronic diseases and those without access to air conditioning are most at risk.
If air conditioning is not available, open windows, pull down shades to keep out direct sunlight and use fans to cool rooms. Stay cool, drink plenty of fluids, wear cool clothing and limit strenuous outdoor activities.
Staying in an air-conditioned area, either at home or at public places like malls, libraries or community centers, is the best way to combat heat.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management maintains a map of local cooling centers at tdem.texas.gov/cool.
People can also dial 2-1-1 and select option 1 to locate cooling centers.
Take action at the first sign of heat illness.
Symptoms of heat illness include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, nausea, weak but rapid pulse and headaches. People experiencing these symptoms should find shade, drink water slowly and make sure there is good ventilation. If symptoms don’t improve, seek medical attention.
Never leave anyone, including pets, in a parked vehicle – even for a short time.
Vehicles can heat up to deadly temperatures within minutes. Cracking the windows does little to keep temperatures down. If your child sits in the backseat, put your purse, briefcase, wallet or another essential item behind you so you’ll notice your child is there before exiting the vehicle. Young children are particularly vulnerable to heat.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you see an unattended child in a vehicle.
Check frequently on older friends, neighbors and family members.
Visit at least twice a day and watch for signs of heat illness. Assist them with transportation to places with air conditioning and make sure they know what to do if they experience heat illness.
Most deaths caused by heat stroke occur in people older than 50 years old. They are more likely to have a medical condition or be taking medication that can interfere with the body’s response to heat.
Drink plenty of water.
Drink liquids 30 minutes before going outside and continue even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.
Sen. Hinojosa announces the Texas Utility Help program is accepting applications for assistance with energy and water bills
Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, recently announced that the Texas Utility Help program is accepting applications for energy assistance.
In addition, the program is now offering assistance for past-due and future water and wastewater bills through September 30, 2023.
Administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), Texas Utility Help is funded by the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).
The program aims to provide financial support to eligible households by making direct payments to utility companies on their behalf.
Texas Utility Help is available to qualified homeowners and renters with low income.
Under the Energy Program and the Water Program, eligible households may receive assistance for electricity, gas, propane, water and wastewater bills.
This assistance can cover both past-due amounts owed and up to $2,400 for prospective payments through September 30, 2023, depending on household income.
Hinojosa emphasized the importance of this program in helping residents in need.
“Texas Utility Help program is a lifeline for many families struggling to make ends meet. By providing financial assistance for energy and water bills, we can alleviate the burden on low-income households and ensure they have access to essential utilities,” Hinojosa said. “This program is a testament to our commitment to supporting our communities, our families, and improving the quality of life for all Texans.”
Hinojosa’s offices are ready to assist anyone who needs help filling out the application.
Residents may call his Capitol office or visit the District offices for guidance and support.
For more information and how to apply for Texas Utility Help, individuals may visit
call 1/855-566-2057, or contact his offices at:
• Edinburg, 1508 S. Lone Star Way, Suite 6, 956/318-0725;
• Corpus Christi, 602 N. Staples Street, Suite 200, 361/882-0900; or
• Austin, 1400 Congress, 512/363-0120.
Hinojosa’s offices are ready to assist anyone who needs help filling out the application. Residents may call his Capitol office or visit the District offices for guidance and support.
Chris Van Deusen and David A. Díaz contributed to this article. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).