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Program gives fans to keep seniors cool in summer
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The “Beat the Heat” Summer Fan Program, sponsored by the Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center, works to provide local senior citizens with necessary indoor fans each summer. Each year the fan program is supported by donations from businesses, churches and private citizens. - photo by Erin O. Smith

'Beat the Heat' Summer Fan Program

Where: Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center, 430 Prior St. SE, Gainesville

Contact: 770-503-3330

More info: http://www.gainesville.org/beat-the-heat-summer-fan-program-1

As forecasts this weekend show temperatures nearing 95 degrees, many in North Georgia will likely try to stay cool inside.

The “Beat the Heat” Summer Fan Program, sponsored by the Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center, works to provide local senior citizens with necessary indoor fans each summer.

“As you know, summer is very hot particularly here in the Southeast, and a lot of older adults are prone to heat stroke in that time,” said Phillippa Moss, director of the Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center. “So as to eliminate that or keep it from happening, our community has for over two decades now donated fans to older adults.”

Cash, check and fan donations are currently being accepted so distribution can start with the start of summer.

Each year the fan program is supported by donations from businesses, churches and private citizens. Moss said between 100 and 200 fans are distributed each year.

“Many older adults who live in older homes don’t actually have central air conditioning,” she said. “They will run a fan in a room until it wears out. So a lot of fans can only be used over the course of a summer, and sometimes it’s unusable after that point. So they need to be replaced frequently.”

Moss said even some seniors who have the benefit of central air choose not to run it through the summer.

“You’re talking about older adults who have limited incomes, and they watch every nickel and dime,” she said. “So they’re resistant to running the air, because they don’t want the liability of higher electricity costs.”

Stepheine Hood, senior services compliance officer at the Community Service Center, said the program takes standard, 20-inch floor fans that can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Lowe’s or Home Depot for about $15 each.

“The very simple white fans that just sit on your floor and plug in,” Moss described. “We don’t take the larger, standing fans, because people are more inclined to brace them or fall on them. So typically we want something low to the ground that they can put in the corner, out of their path.”

The program accepts cash and check donations, but Moss said “we love” receiving large donations of fans. They ask that all donated fans be new.

Senior residents interested in picking up a fan are asked to bring a picture ID to confirm their age. If a younger friend or family member is picking up a fan for a senior, they are still asked to bring the senior’s ID.

“We also request that residents don’t pick up fans in back-to-back years,” Moss said. “So if you received a fan last year, we request you don’t ask for one this year because of limited resources. They typically will last, depending on how much you’re running them.”

Hood said there are exceptions for families in great need two years in a row. Seniors who need a fan should call the Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center at 770-503-3330.

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