CHESHIRE — A local business is teaming up with one state representative to ensure that individuals and families who need air conditioning units are given one.
F.F. Hitchcock, 264 Sandbank Road., and State Rep. Liz Linehan, D-Cheshire, are holding their first annual air conditioner drive in an effort to collect unused units, both working and non-working. The units will then be provided — and installed, if needed — to residents within Linehan’s district covering Cheshire, Southington, and Wallingford on a first-come, first-served basis.
John Bowman, co-owner of F.F. Hitchcock, said three families have already donated a total of six units as of late last month.
“It was sort of like, you put out the call and the community rallied,” Bowman said. “When there’s a need, really, this community always seems to rally around that need. We’re proud to be a part of it.”
Linehan said she first started gathering unused air conditioners for Cheshire residents in 2016, when she served on the Town Council.
“I saw on Facebook that there was a possible constituent of mine who was disabled and needed an air conditioner, and wanted to know if anyone had one for cheap that they could buy,” Linehan said.
Linehan solicited donations on Facebook and received several responses from people willing to give away old or unused units. She and resident Jeremy Beitel began collecting the units and, when someone expressed a need, Linehan and her husband would install them.
Jennifer Kubicza is one person who has benefited from Linehan’s efforts. Kubicza said that her living room window is an “odd size” and her family did not have the spare funds last year to purchase a unit to fit the frame.
“We had been searching for an air conditioner that would fit into our extra-small window,” Kubicza explained. “It was a little out of our price range to go with one of those big portable air conditioners.”
Kubicza’s son, Cole, was diagnosed with Angelman syndrome when he was younger. One of the side effects of the genetic disorder is poor body temperature regulation.
A local family, who wished to remain anonymous, donated a unit to the Kubiczas after hearing about their story from Linehan.
“It’s a really good feeling to know that there are people out there who are willing to help,” said Kubicza.
Linehan is pleased that F.F. Hitchcock is offering their services to repair broken units, if possible, as well as install units.
“(My husband and I) are physically able to do that for them, and now we have F.F. Hitchcock, who has the expertise to get the units working again,” Linehan said.
Bowman said that his staff are happy to help individuals in the community.
“We’re just really proud of our team, and I think they feel a sense of pride that they know that they’re going to be helping out the community as well,” he said.
Drop-offs are accepted at F.F. Hitchcock from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. To request a unit, call (203) 272-5400, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or email Linehan at email@example.com.