Three YEARS a charm...Comfort Keepers Project provides 44 fans

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Lauren Siebert, founder of the Comfort Keepers Project, and State Representative Fran Cavenaugh purchased and hauled off 44 fans from Ash Flat Walmart to be distributed to homes with a need in the area.
Kim Break

Comfort Keepers Project began its third year with this summer season, and so far it has been the most successful year yet. Because of the generosity of a few, nearly $1,500 was raised for the purchase of fans, and heaters for later this year.

“This is an ongoing project, and will continue to be for as long as I am able,” said founder Lauren Siebert. CKP is also known as the Cool Summers/Warm Homes Project, and was started by Siebert because of the overwhelming fact that long term exposure to excessive heat and humidity, claims hundreds of lives each year.

“I started the project three years ago in the winter after delivering some food baskets during Thanksgiving with my church. While I was out, I visited several homes that were using their cooking stoves to heat their homes with and I know it only takes a few seconds for that to go wrong,” Siebert said. “That day, I started the Warm Homes project, which basically amounted to I collected heaters to give out because I know sometimes firewood or propane may not be available or someone may not be able to afford it right that minute.”

Siebert said following the first Warm Homes season, as summer drew near, she decided to begin collecting fans to do a sister project during the summer months.

Each year, the project has grown as more community members and organizations are coming on board to help. Highland Assembly of God, where Siebert attends, was the first to support the project in its first year. The Sharp County Ministerial Alliance began contributing last year. The project now has a total of six contributors; State Representative Fran Cavenaugh, United Country Cotham and Co. broker Cathy Johnson, New Life Church in Ash Flat and Liberty Hill Church, all came on board this year.

Between those six contributors, “currently we have raised $1,450... $800 has been used to purchase 44 fans and the rest of the money will be used in the winter to purchase heaters,” said Siebert.

She has been overwhelmed by the support from the community and couldn’t be happier with the growth of her concept. “It has been an excellent launch for the third year. We have raised more money than the first two years combined.” Once the fans were purchased from Walmart in Ash Flat, Siebert distributed the fans to Cherokee Village United Methodist Church, Hardy United Methodist Church, Spring River Presbyterian Church, Highland Assembly of God, New Life Church in Ash Flat and Sharp County Sheriff’s Office, where officers will distribute fans as they see a need.

When Liberty Hill Church donated, they asked that Siebert check with the White River Area Agency on Aging to see if they had a need, which they do, so Siebert plans to distribute fans there as well.

The project’s growth and addition of more contributors, could be credited to a social media post made by Siebert. “I had made a Facebook post and was just letting people know that I was kicking off the third year and if they had fans that still worked they wanted to donate or contribute financially, to contact me. Not even 10 minutes after I posted, Cavenaugh called and said, ‘what can I do to help?’ I explained to her the purpose and what I wanted to accomplish and she said, ‘where can I send it?’ I got with my church and they found a way.” Siebert said Cavenuagh and Johnson, of United Country Cotham and Co. were ready and willing to help within minutes of her post.

“I feel like this project chose me,” said Siebert, who got the concept while helping deliver Thanksgiving baskets to homes one winter. “I started the project three years ago in the winter after delivering some food baskets during Thanksgiving with my church. While I was out, I visited several homes that were using their cooking stoves to heat their homes with and I know it only takes a few seconds for that to go wrong,” Siebert said. The rest is history.

“This project is a way to ease some discomfort, not everyone needs it, but 44 is a lot for a small community. You cant know there is a problem and do nothing and extreme heat and extreme cold, claims a lot of lives each year,” she added.

Without the ever growing support from the community, the project wouldn’t be able to help as many people. “I want to thank everyone who has ever contributed to this. We have made a small difference for a couple years and this year, I feel like we are making a huge difference. Thank you isn’t enough, they are helping me help others, they are taking ownership of the community in doing this with me.”

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