As we move into the serious heat of the summer, there's unwelcome news from the Chattanooga Salvation Army.

The nonprofit tells Channel 3 their assistance fund for utility bills is empty, and it couldn't have come at a worse time.

"Keep us in your prayers," Kimberly George says, with the Salvation Army. "We're in for a long, hot summer and we can't do it without your help."

The Salvation Army kicked off its annual "Beat the Heat" campaign Wednesday. And, as usual, they're asking for donations of new box fans to help provide some relief, and for cases of bottled water to stock their hydration stations that especially aid the homeless community.

But, this year, they really need cash.

"Right now, we're completely out in Hamilton County, of any funds to help with utility assistance," says George.

Heat and humidity levels are rising; people are forced to rely on their air conditioners more and more.   

"We have folks who are coming to us whose budgets are stretched as far as it can stretch and they just need that extra help because their utility bill is higher than it normally has been," says George.

And, as if to create the perfect storm, a seasonal dip in giving combined with the continued assistance the Salvation Army is providing residents of Patten Towers, who were displaced by fire two weeks ago.

"It's the tightest time of the year for our budget," George says. "We get less donations in over the summer, typically, and then when you have a disaster on top of that and your expenses rise and your revenue is not, it puts a drain on us."

Kimberly George tells Channel 3 the Salvation Army will continue to meet needs and provide assistance, but they can't fulfill their mission, this year, without a little extra help.

"We need your help," George says. "We know Chattanooga is a giving community and so we always know that when we tell the folks of our community, our neighbors, what our need is, they step up."

The Salvation Army is now accepting new boxed fans and bottled water to help give relief from the heat.

A drop off has been set up at the Salvation Army branches 822 McCallie Avenue in Chattanooga and 435 Inman Street in Cleveland.

If you need assistance, they ask you call (423) 756-1023 to make an appointment.

Click here to visit the Chattanooga Salvation Army on line to learn more.