MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) — People living in the Hill Country now have a cool place to go where they can seek refuge from the sizzling summer temperatures.
The Highland Lakes Crisis Network will open the First United Methodist Church, located at 1101 Bluebonnet Drive in Marble Falls, as a cooling center whenever a heat advisory or an excessive heat warning is issued for Burnet and Llano counties. At least four to five volunteers will run the cooling center on those days from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Rachel Naumann, the network’s operations director, said local businesses will also provide food and snacks whenever the church becomes a cooling center. Based on the expected forecast, she expects more volunteers will be needed in the days and weeks ahead.
“We see this being an ongoing effort due to how many consecutive days we are seeing with these heat advisories,” Naumann said in an email Monday afternoon.
The Highland Lakes Crisis Network formed in the aftermath of devastating flooding that struck the area in 2018. In addition to assisting with that disaster response, volunteers have since helped feed people at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as provide heaters and blankets to neighbors during the February 2021 winter storms.
Naumann said this effort helps local church members respond “to the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs to neighbors during times of crisis and disaster.”
“This is one way the local churches can love our neighbors who might not have a/c and cooling or are having issues with their homes staying cool,” she said. “We’ve heard of families having to run their car so they can have an escape from the heat.”
She said the network is also collecting monetary donations to assist families who need help if they don’t have air conditioning at home or struggle to pay their utility bills.
“We are being proactive in the event there is a need for rolling brown outs or other electrical grid problems,” Naumann said.
If people would like to find out more information about the Highland Lakes Crisis Network and volunteering opportunities, Naumann said they can either check out the organization’s website, its Facebook page or call 325-423-3662.