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No A/C and no help for needy seniors in Roanoke

Local Office on Aging has run out of money for it's "fan care" program

June 01, 2011|Elizabeth Harrington | Reporter

ROANOKE, Va — The heat can take a toll on people especially senior citizens. Now some older people in need of air conditioners and fans have lost much needed help.

The Local Office on Aging (LOA) in Roanoke has run out of donations after losing its federal funding.

Last week, the non-profit agency spent its last $700 to buy 10 air conditioning units and 20 fans. That's why only the most needy people will get the free items.

"When we had plenty of money we served anybody that qualified financially 60 years of age and older," says Shannon Abell, Director of Senior Services, "But now we're gonna have to have a letter from their doctor attesting that they need the cooling."

On Wednesday, LOA was down to two A/C units and about five fans. On that same day nine people filled out applications and the voice mail had 20 messages.

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"It's very tough," says Elaine Engleman, Senior Services Coordinator, "I mean we get calls from people that are waiting right now saying to me you know I can't breathe, I have asthma, I've been in the hospital for a month."

John Brown is one of the lucky ones. He and his daughter picked up a new air conditioning unit courtesy of LOA.

"I think it's a gift from God," says Brown who recently got out of the hospital after a five month stay, "At my age it's very important to me. I have a little fan in there that don't do nothing."

The non-profit agency is now counting on donations to fill the gap and help seniors cool down in this hot weather. The Local Office on Aging spends most of its money on the program Meals on Wheels.

If you'd like to donate you can call LOA at 540-345-0451.

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