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Senior fan program suffers from lack of donations

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JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - Onslow County Senior Services is extra busy this week, operating its Fan Relief Program in overdrive during one of the hottest stretches of the year thus far.

For seniors without proper air conditioning, the summertime afternoons where the heat index in eastern North Carolina is pushing triple digits can be a dangerous situation.

"We are in crisis mode," Onslow County Director of Senior Services Christine Kinnett said. "Currently we are having extreme heat and it doesn't even need to be extreme for seniors to be at risk."

The Fan Relief program is attempting to get box fans into the homes as many seniors as they can. The program, however, is reliant on donations and those have dipped significantly in 2017.

According to the National Weather Service, extreme heat is responsible for more deaths each year in the US than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods combined.

"We haven't had many donations at all this year and so we are looking for anyone in the community who's willing to drop off a box fan," Kinnett said.

Fan Relief Program recipient Louise Druckrey said the "fans are an absolute godsend," given that her home lacks air conditioning.

There isn't much you need to do to qualify - if you are a senior and your home is too hot, that's enough.

To keep the program spinning, Kinnett said donations need to come in - and soon. Box fans can be dropped off at the Senior Services Building, 4024 Richlands Highway.

Other tips to stay cool include keeping the windows open in your house and putting a cool cloth on your neck, Kinnett said.

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