WINCHESTER — When Pam Brannon learned that late-afternoon temperatures would be in the upper 90s today and Saturday, she started worrying about people who wouldn’t be able to cool off in an air-conditioned building.

Brannon picked up her phone at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and started making calls to see if anyone was planning to set up a cooling station. No one was, so she decided to do it herself.

By mid-afternoon, Brannon had received permission from her church, First Presbyterian Church at 116 S. Loudoun St., to set up a cooling station to serve free water to anyone in need. She also received pledges from other concerned people to donate lemonade, Kool-Aid and snacks.

“We don’t know at this point how many people are going to show up,” Brannon said.

She is handing out flyers to homeless and less-fortunate people who often hang out at Handley Library and Congregational Community Action Project (CCAP) in Winchester to let them know the cooling station will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. today and Saturday. Brannon said she picked evening hours because that’s when the heat index will be highest and many public buildings will be closed.

Brannon has reached out to other downtown churches to help with the cooling station, but she’ll take as many volunteers as she can get. An online sign-up sheet for people willing to assist is posted at and can also be accessed through First Presbyterian Church’s Facebook page.

The cooling station will be set up at the entrance to the church’s fellowship hall on the Loudoun Street Mall, Brannon said.

— Contact Brian Brehm at

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