DALLAS – This long stretch of hot weather is hard on those who are homebound and may not be able to seek out cooling supplies.
That’s where volunteers become an important lifeline.
For many of these residents, a volunteer is the only person they might see that day.
So the volunteers don’t just drop off the food, they also visit with them for a few minutes, asking them questions to make sure they’re okay.
They start their day early, loading coolers filled with food into trucks for delivery before it gets too hot.
Through their Meals on Wheels programs, the Visiting Nurse Association of Texas helps to feed thousands of in-bound residents.
But their mission doesn’t stop there.
Boxed fans have become part of the summer-time delivery.
“I brought you a fan too, with the hot weather. Bringing you this, okay?” Visiting Nurse Association VP and Chief of Strategy and Development, Chris Culak, said when dropping of a fan for Meals on Wheels. “Just one of those on the floor. You just plug it in, okay?”
This brutal stretch of triple-digit temperatures has do-gooders like Culak asking questions to make sure the people they are helping are doing alright.
“Would you say that you’re doing OK? Just trying to stay cool?” Culak asked.
“Yeah,” the Meals on Wheels recipient replied.
Margaret Chovanec” lives alone, and the 93-year-old stays inside most of the time, especially this time of year.
Culak and his co-worker, Robin Plotkin, want to make sure Chovanec and others on their route are taken care of.
“Our clients are kind of the most vulnerable ones out there. For them to be able to have a fan, AC, pay their bills, this is a tough time for them,” Culak said.
It’s the same for 84-year-old Betty Aguilar, who has trouble seeing and doesn’t venture far from her apartment.
“I get up 4, 4:30 in the morning, but I come out around 6, 6:30, to the mailbox,” she said.
By mid-morning she’s back inside for the day.
Culak said it’s important for his volunteers to take precautions too.
Many are out delivering five days a week.
“Everyone picks up a route. We also have a bottle of water in there for our volunteers,” he said.
They make sure they are staying hydrated so they can continue to help the people who count on them.
Last year, the VNA in Dallas handed out about 400 fans.
So far this summer, they’ve handed out half that amount.