CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)--In an average year, the Chattanooga area Salvation Army gives away three to five hundred donated box fans beginning in mid to late June as part of its "Beat the Heat" program, according to director of marketing Kimberly George. It's been a thriving program, helping those who have little or no air conditioning in their homes to keep them cool in the summer. However last year's supply of fans is nearly gone

"We were a little bit warmer later in the year last year and we were able to distribute all the fans we had last year," said George. She and her staff have not been able to keep up with current demand given the early season heat wave which began in late May.

"Almost a hundred different families calling us asking us if we have the fans yet," said George.

One of those families was Satoria Baker's. She finally got a place of her own and thought it was equipped with air conditioning, but came to find out she was misinformed. She heard about "Beat the Heat" from her mom. The scorching temperatures have simply been unbearable for her and her two small children.

"At nighttime it's not as hot, but during the day nobody wants to be in no bricks," said Baker.

All three of them have asthma, so they're staying with Baker's mom temporarily. It's more a matter of health rather than comfort. Satoria's new apartment is not a safe environment, even with the windows open.

"That ain't going to work during the day. It's just going to bring more heat in, and then with the doors closed you're not going to have as much air. So you can't breathe," explained Baker. "That's an asthma attack waiting to happen."

She'll be able to get one of the few fans available which will have to do until she can afford a window unit. Baker urges anyone else who has children to open their hearts to those in need so the Salvation Army can continue its mission.

"If you got it and you're willing to give it, then by any means necessary do it," said Baker.

George and the Salvation Army witnessed how people pulled together following the April tornadoes and believe it will happen again to help their neighbors stay safe and cool in the coming days.

"Whether it's a disaster or whether it's someone who is low income, we all are affected sometimes and in need and we certainly appreciate this community," said George.

Children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses are at the highest risk from the effects of extreme heat. For information about getting a box fan or about donating one, call the local Salvation Army at 423-756-1023. The Chattanooga area chapter serves Hamilton and Bradley counties.