Groups join forces to give fans to seniors in need

United Way Fan Drive

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Several groups joined forces to try and help seniors beat the heat.

The Helping Neighbors Food Pantry in Jonesboro is one of the groups collecting fans to give to those in need.

Coordinator for the food pantry Liz Ivener said this is the second year for the program.

"We have a campaign for Fans for the Elderly," Ivener said. "We started it last year and it was very successful and this year it's going very strong also."

Nannette Heard with the United Way of Northeast Arkansas said they've seen an increase in donations and in the need.

"We first started this project last year in July giving out fans at the Helping Neighbors Food Pantry. This year we started a little bit earlier. We started in mid-June and we have probably collected about three times the amount of funds that were collected last year," Heard said.

Ivener said while the donation increase is great, there's still a lot of people out there who need help.

"It really is extremely bad," Ivener said. "We have so many people who don't have air conditioning. Or they can't afford to pay their utility bill. So, they don't use their air. And the older you get the more respiratory problems you have or other healthcare issues the heat can make worse."

Hear said they have managed to get the most for their dollar thanks to some area stores.

"We've got a good relationship with a couple of stores here in town," Heard said. "They are allowing us to purchase the fans pretty close to cost. And so, this helps stretch the monetary donations. If people want to donate a fan that's great. But we can probably get more with the funds they donate."

Heard said a number of churches and organizations have also stepped up to help.

Ivener said they have given out 88 fans so far.

You must be at least 65 years old or have a respiratory condition to receive a fan.

If you would like to make a donation, contact the United Way of Northeast Arkansas or Helping Hands Food Pantry in Jonesboro.

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