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Helping out can be a breeze with annual program
Donate a box fan to Senior Life Center program and help out a local senior
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Donate a fan
What: Box fans are preferred; donations are tax deductible. Donations are also being accepted to purchase fans.
When: During business hours at the Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center, 434 Prior St., Gainesville
Contact: Merry Howard, 770-503-3351

As the Memorial Day weekend typically brings on summer’s heat, the Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center is starting a program to cool seniors down.

An annual tradition, the “Beat the Heat” summer fan campaign collects new box fans and donations so senior citizens can take a fan home for free.

“The A/C can’t move around, but the fan will,” said Jack Dowdy, who has taken advantage of the program in the past. “And the more air you move around, the cooler you are in these hot months.”

Last year’s program brought in 60 fans and almost $800 in donations to purchase fans. Merry Howard, Senior Life Center manager, said she understands the pinch of the economy but appreciates any support.

“Even one fan would be great,” she said. “It’s just so important, especially in this economy, for low-income families or elderly who can’t afford to run their air conditioners a lot.”

The small gift makes a big difference for the wallet, Howard said.

“Using a fan to lower the A/C bill can mean the difference in paying for medicine or not,” she said. “It’s not safe to do that, but some people think they’d rather be cool.”

Many seniors in the area have family for assistance, but plenty need the help.

“This program is great for people who don’t have family around to help them shop,” Howard said. “It really helps the homebound seniors or Meals on Wheels program during the summer.”

The efforts start today, and seniors who need a fan can call the Senior Life Center and ask to be placed on a waiting list for distribution.

“Seniors need to keep the air circulating, or heat-related illness such as dehydration can develop quickly,” Howard said. “Providing older adults with fans is simply a safety issue, and we had such an outpouring from the community last year, so we hope they come forward again.”

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