Delivering relief from the heat

Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels client Lawrence Rowse uses a fan to keep his home cool Monday. With a heat wave upon us, Meals on Wheels needs people to donate fans that they can deliver to seniors, who are particularly at risk of heat stroke and dehydration. (Colin Mulvany)

Meals on Wheels hopes to ensure senior clients stay cool by providing donated fans

The Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels is helping seniors stay cool.

Though temperatures failed to reach searing forecasts Monday, the heat is still making things tough for some of the Inland Northwest’s most vulnerable.

So the charitable organization is checking in with people as they deliver meals. And it’s seeking donations of fans.

“Oftentimes their systems aren’t able to handle as much heat change,” said Pam Almeida, executive director. “They tend to dehydrate quicker. Dehydration is what we worry about the most. It can just kind of lead to one problem after another. And unless they know that’s what’s going on, it can be pretty serious.”

Janette LaBella is among about 400 people who receive home meal deliveries

“It’s hot,” she said. “We’ve got the big fans on right now. It’s not too good, but it’s better than nothing.”

Some seniors don’t even have fans, so Almeida said she is “putting a plea out to people to donate.”

“I’m very concerned,” she said. “This is a pretty dire need right now.”

The organization has just three to give away.

Most seniors served by Meals on Wheels live alone and have no one else to check on them.

“Many don’t have family,” Almeida said. “I’d say probably half of them don’t have anybody locally. All of our drivers know that not only are they bringing them meals, but they’re doing a welfare check on everybody.”

On Monday, volunteer drivers gathered at Meals on Wheels in Spokane Valley. Almeida directed drivers to bring extra water and to “ask your people if they’re drinking water. Remind them to drink water. Remind people to keep cool.”

As for fans, she said: “Keep a list of who needs them.”

Temperatures are expected to climb into the 90s today and Wednesday, with a high of 97 degrees on Friday.

Forecasts call for highs in the low 90s next weekend.

Bea Wilson, a volunteer driver since 1989, set out on her route Monday.

“We don’t stay long,” she said. “But we stay long enough to visit and make sure they’re OK.”

To help out

To donate or find out more about volunteering, visit www.gscmealsonwheels.org , call (509) 924-6976 or go to 12101 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley.

Forecast: This week will be warmer than normal, with highs forecast in the 90s each day, according to the National Weather Service. The hottest day may be Friday, when it could hit 97 in Spokane, the agency said Monday.

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