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Fan drive heating up for summer
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Summertime means higher temperatures, and with highs already approaching the 90s many locals are in need of relief.

 With the added heat comes high energy bills as air conditioners work overtime to keep up. FaithWorks Ministry in Covington is doing its part to help residents deal with the heat recently kicking off its third annual fan drive.

Executive director Bob Furnad has spearheaded the drive since the ministry was chartered in 2006. The first year FaithWorks collected more than 400 fans and $300,000 to aid needy families and offset monthly expenses. This year he hopes to collect even more.

 "We started out with six member churches in the ministry and have since grown to 32," Furnad said. "To date we have received more than 900 fans from several of our members and they are starting to come in this week."

Furnad said many of the churches collect fans from their congregants and some even donate money, which in turn is used to purchase fans.

The ministry distributes fans to needy families and Furnad says many of them have no other means to cool themselves during the summer months.

"It turns out many of these families don't have air conditioning and the fans end up as the only way to cool themselves," he said. "On top of that, the fans can help with energy costs as people can maybe set the AC a couple of degrees higher."

The drive runs throughout the summer and those requesting fans can go to the ministry on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Furnad said anyone in need can request fans and they will issue one for each room in their home.

The fan drive is not limited to the ministries core group of churches. Those wishing to help can drop fans off at the ministry anytime on those three days of the week.

"We certainly encourage the community to help," Furnad said. "We can take in fans anytime. We usually are here all day Monday, Wednesday and Friday."

FaithWorks also distributes grants to needy families to help cover costs including unexpected bills or emergencies. Those disbursements are handed out carefully as wanting families must fill out a thorough application and provide documentation in order to receive funds.

"We have many families who come to us in need because of a car repair bill or an unexpected power bill," Furnad said. "Those applications need to be filled out here and we usually award them based on what we see with the bills they bring in."

FaithWorks mandates accepting families must participate in a budget class, which Furnad teaches, in order to receive more than one disbursement. But he added families are only permitted one payment per year.

While the fan drive has just begun, the summer months will surely bring with them a demand for fans. As the economic crunch continues to affect residents everywhere, Furnad hopes FaithWorks can help ease the strains of the summer heat.

"It is important for us to help the community whenever we can and these fans really mean a lot to the people we give them to," he said. "We are very grateful to our group of churches. They are what really make this thing work."