Neighbors Can Come In and Cool Off at Temple United Church

When temperatures are expected to soar, Temple United Church in Wilmington, Delaware, turns into a Cooling Center to help neighbors beat the hot weather. Community members, especially those who are elderly or do not have access to air conditioning, are welcome to come in, sit in the air-conditioned space and enjoy some ice cold water.

The Cooling Centers are a service of Delaware Interfaith Power & Light, a local organization supported by ChristianaCare’s Community Investment Fund. The fund is helping cover the cost of utilities and bottled water at three Cooling Stations in New Castle County.

Pastor John Graham (center) talks with ChristianaCare’s Katie Coombes, community benefit program manager, and Emmanuel Mensah, M.D., MBA, chief medical officer of Wilmington Hospital, about the Cooling Station at Temple United Church, just before the first heat wave of the summer.

“Heat can make people very sick, and it can be deadly, especially for the young and the elderly,” said Bettina Tweardy Riveros, chief health equity officer at ChristianaCare. “Ways to get relief from the heat air conditioning, fans, bottled water come with financial costs that not everyone can afford. These inequities drive disparities in health across our most at risk communities.

“We are grateful for our partnership with Delaware Interfaith Power & Light for finding innovative ways to help our neighbors stay cool and reduce the health impacts of hot weather.”

The Cooling Center at Temple United Church is open Mondays through Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. at 602 Washington St. in Wilmington.

Temple United Church Pastor John Graham looks forward to having the church serve as a sanctuary for relief in the Wilmington community during heat waves. “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide a Cooling Center here in West Center City,” he said. “Everything is free, including the water!”

As temperatures climb, he said, “thank God we have resources available to take care of people if they choose to come.” Community members of any faith are welcomed and encouraged to stop by, even if they are not a member of the church. The Cooling Center is open Mondays through Fridays from noon to 5 p.m., and some Saturdays. Temple United Church is at 602 Washington St., Wilmington, DE, 19801.

Temple Church United also has a learning center to help neighbors get their GED, learn life skills and connect to area resources. To reach the church, call 302-571-8596.