HEAT WAVE: Meals on Wheels delivers fans to elderly in need

A free standing electric fan awaits delivery to a client of Meals on Wheels in Salem on June 25, 2021. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

When Jim Franklin reported for his Thursday shift delivering food to the elderly for Salem’s Meals on Wheels program, staff members said they were short about 10 fans.

Drivers with the organization have been collecting and handing out fans to their clients this week as temperatures are expected to reach triple digits.

Franklin went to Ace Hardware and filled up a Toyota Tundra with all the box fans the hardware store had.

“I made sure the clients answered the door and got their fan,” he said.

Franklin said drivers checked in with the people they deliver meals to, often elderly and on a fixed income, to make sure they have a plan for the heat.

He said he’s amazed at how many people don’t have fans or air conditioning. He helped one woman get her trailer hooked up to the correct power source so she could run AC in there when it got too hot in her house.

Volunteer Jesse Irizany said it was crucial to talk to elderly people about having enough water and handing out spray bottles too.

“The folks I saw yesterday when I was delivering fans were some of the most needy,” he said.

He said the people who are served by Meal on Wheels are often isolated and the volunteers could be their only contact.

But you don’t have to be a volunteer to check on your neighbors, especially those who are more vulnerable to heat like the elderly and the young. 

A Meals on Wheels volunteer carries a large electric fan for delivery to a client ahead of a heat wave on June 25, 2021 (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected]

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