RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — With mid-90-degree temperatures predicted Friday, many will be cranking down their thermostats for the weekend. Getting cooled down is not the easiest task for everyone though, and without access to a cooling source, it can lead to hospital visits.

“Last summer saw more than 3,100 heat-related visits to the emergency room across our state,” said Wake County Commissioner Dr. James West. “Fans and air conditioning units can be a lifesaving resource in the midst of hot summer days and heatwaves, but we can’t provide these without generous donations from the community.”

A Wake County program called Cool for Wake is helping those who need fans and air conditioners gain access to them. The program offers both to qualifying households and is a partnership of Wake County and the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors Giving Network.

Each year the program distributes around 100 fans and 25 air conditioning units, dating back to the start of Cool for Wake in 1991.

According to a Thursday release, Wake County officials said the need is expected to be greater this year as “many may still be feeling the financial impacts of the pandemic.”

Cool for Wake runs from mid-May to mid-September but has the greatest need for donations in early summer to ensure that households who need a fan or AC unit can receive one before the hottest months arrive.

The following is from Wake County about how to help or apply to receive a fan or A/C unit.


The easiest way to help neighbors through the Cool for Wake program is to make a financial donation online. All funds received go directly to families in need, as program administrative costs are funded through the Wake County budget.

The program also welcomes donations of new or gently used fans and air conditioners.


Households eligible for Cool for Wake can request a fan or AC unit through their social worker or reach out to Denise Kissel at (919) 212-7083 or denise.kissel@wakegov.com.

To qualify for the program applicants must:

  • Meet income requirements;
  • Have at least one person over age 60 or 12 and under within the household; and
  • Not have another source of cooling for the home.

Additionally, households that meet the criteria and have at least one person with a documented history of a chronic respiratory illness may qualify for a window air conditioning unit.

Learn more about Cool for Wake at wakegov.com/coolforwake.