With temperatures in Hays climbing over 100 this week, “everybody’s melting,” said Julie Smith, Ellis County coordinator for The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army in partnership with Westlake Ace Hardware has 20-inch box fans to give away Thursday at their office on the ground floor of the Hadley Center, 203 E. 7th, Suite A.

“It goes to the elderly, low-income seniors, qualified families with children, and adults with disabilities,” Smith said.

This is the eighth year for the fan giveaway. Westlake in June collected donations for the fans, with Ellis County donations given away locally. The chain retailer has 102 stores in Kansas, including the one in Hays at 3300 Vine St., that participate in the fan drive with The Salvation Army. Since its start, 25,000 fans have been donated and given away in Kansas, Smith said.

Locally, Smith has about 25 fans to give away.

“I’m hoping to get everyone taken care of,” she said. “I anticipate we won’t have any left.”

People can stop by from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday.

For information or to make a donation, call Smith at 785-621-2794.

The Paper Pantry at the Salvation Army is also open those same hours every Tuesday and Thursday.

People in need can shop for $20 to $30 worth of toilet paper, laundry soap, dish soap, tampons, cleaning supplies, spray cleaners, shampoos, body wash, paper towels, deodorant and other items.

“These are things that food stamps doesn’t purchase but that are very important to keep the family going,” Smith said. “People start crying when I tell them they can get free toilet paper and laundry soap. When the kids start school, you want your kids to go to school clean.”

People can shop for the items once every three months, she said.

Besides accepting donations for those programs, Smith also accepts donations for The Salvation Army’s local Suitcase Project.

Smith gives away about 16 suitcases a month to two different organizations that help foster kids in the area. Suitcases are packed with toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, blankets, coloring books, socks and other items.

“When the kids are removed from their home, their belongings are in a Walmart sack or a trash bag,” Smith said. “This way they can have a bag that at least they can call their own and feel that they are worthy, instead of carrying their belongings in a trash bag. We put in socks, or little blankets to make them feel secure, just those kinds of things.”

Anyone picking up a fan or shopping should bring in proof of income or proof of family size, she said.

Correction: Story edited Thursday, June 18, 2019 to correct the name of the Salvation Army Ellis County Coordinator. Julie Smith was misidentified in Thursday's edition. The News apologizes for the error.