sonya mckinstry

High temperatures can be more than a nuisance and Alabama is experiencing a heat wave like no other.Government officials and organizations are encouraging people to get prepared, leading one city councilwoman to open a cooling station.

Thanks to District 7 councilwoman Sonya McKinstry, her center is now available for those to keep from overheating.

“It’s over 100 degrees and we have a banquet hall, so what we decided to do is to just open it up,” McKinstry said. “You know, there are just a lot of elderly people trying to keep cool with a box fan and for people who don’t have central heat and air. You have a lot of homeless people in the area. So we have this rental facility and we are open. People are welcome to come in – we have plenty of space. We have chairs, tables, to let them come in out of the heat until the sun goes down. Get a bottle of water and just cool off.”

One concern most people have when temperatures begin to rise is hoping their power bill doesn’t follow suit. McKinstry said cooling stations like this one can definitely help with electricity costs.

“You have a lot of people who can’t and don’t want to turn on their air because of the power bill being high or they’re on a fixed income,” she said. “And believe it or not, you have a lot of people who will sit there all day and fan away, and the more they fan, the more they sweat. So we wanted to give people the opportunity to, ‘Hey, come here, we have a cool spot for you and a cold drink, a cold water drink.’”

Mckinstry said it is crucial during these high temperatures to stay cool and hydrated, but also help those in need.

“To the community, not only District 7 but the whole city, that you really take this seriously,” she said. “This heat is nothing to play with. You never know when heat will sneak upon you. This is nothing to play with. People have died from heat exhaustion. And if you can, open up your doors to someone to get them in the cool. Lets do it.”

The McKinstry Banquet Hall is located on 5480 Jug Factory Road. Call 205-826-7661 and let them know if you need to cool off.

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