Earline Lavallis wiped the sweat off her brow as she sat in her living room trying to stay ‘cool’ with a box fan as temperatures outside began to climb into the 90s. For the last six years, she’s endured hot summers living without A/C, but things were about to change.
She heard a knock at the door and rushed to answer it. As a client of Meals on Wheels (MOW) San Antonio, she always looked forward to friendly visitors brightening her day with a nice warm meal. But this time, there was a different group of friendly faces with a life-changing gift for Earline. CPS Energy volunteers Snolandra Taylor, daughters Charlotte and Mya, and nephew Cameron Woods, smiled as they filed through the screen door with a new A/C window unit and box fan.
“Thank you, Jesus! I really feel like somebody cares for me,” said Earline, while hugging Snolandra, a general designer with our Customer Engineering team. “I want to thank all of you.”
Snolandra’s family was among 15 CPS Energy employees and family members who recently volunteered for MOW’s Comfy Casas program. While CPS Energy has a team of volunteers that deliver meals weekdays to homes near downtown, the Comfy Casas event was an opportunity to get more volunteers involved. Snolandra was honored to take her family along to serve our customers.
“I feel proud to be part of a company that cares about the people in our community,” said Snolandra. “This was my first official volunteer event with CPS Energy and I felt like we really made an impact today. It was great to bring my family along to give back.”
MOW recruited volunteers from local partners NuStar Energy, H-E-B and CPS Energy to deliver 30 A/C units and more than 100 box fans to people across our community. CPS Energy advised MOW to purchase Energy Star certified A/C units to ensure the best energy savings and comfort. MOW launched the program last summer after volunteers expressed concern about their clients living without protection from the summer heat. Seniors who live alone are particularly vulnerable.
“A number of volunteers reported back to us while delivering meals that clients’ homes were too hot,” said Kristin Rivera, Community Engagement Manager. “We heard one person was sitting in front of their open refrigerator door trying to stay cool while others had all their windows open. That prompted us to look around to see how else we could help.”
Similarly, CPS Energy is always looking for opportunities to help our customers, including during the hot summer months when energy bills are highest. Our Customer Response Unit (CRU) and Community Engagement teams are constantly out in the community to help customers sign up for our various assistance programs like Casa Verde, a free home weatherization program that provides an average of $5,000 in energy efficiency upgrades at no cost to customers who qualify. We’re also hosting People First! Community Fairs throughout the community this summer to provide customers with tips and information about products, programs, services and the latest technology to help them manage energy bills year-round.
While making deliveries to homes, Snolandra and her family agreed they would make it a tradition to volunteer in the community together. Cameron said the experience was eye opening and he was glad to spend his Saturday morning helping families stay cooler in their homes.
“I don’t know what it feels like to be hot all day in the summer because I live in a house with air conditioning,” said Cameron. “Today, I met people who have to deal with the heat every single day. It’s important to do whatever we can do to help them out.”