Organizations helping the vulnerable in extreme heat ask for help

Helping the vulnerable in extreme heat

PORTLAND, Ore. -- It was a normal day on the job for Jody Grant as she walked down Southwest Main Street in Portland on Tuesday, carrying a bag of hot food. She works for Meals on Wheels People. It’s an organization that brings hot meals to the elderly.

But with multiple days of triple-digit heat expected, at every stop, with every hot meal, she asks questions to make sure folks are okay.

“Are you staying cool, drinking enough water?” asked Grant at one apartment.

Staff at Meals on Wheels People said hundreds of fans have been donated in the last week or two, and just as quickly as they come in they go right back out.

“They are pouring in and we are distributing them to seniors all throughout Multnomah, Washington, and Clark County,” said Tony Staser, Chief Development Officer for Meals on Wheels People.

He said giving out fans is critical for the elderly, some of whom might not be able to afford a fan.

“I think it's just really important because a lot of people don't even get out,” said Joan Hayes, a Meal on Wheels recipient.

“They may not have family nearby to check in on them so we are the eyes and ears of some of those folks,” Staser said.

Over at the Union Gospel Mission, Tuesday was the first day of extended hours designed to help the homeless get out of the heat.

“We’re keeping our homeless services day hospitality room open extra hours. We’re providing juice, water, snacks. People can sit down, get out of the heat. That’s one aspect of what we’re doing,” said Stacy Kean, Communications Director for the Union Gospel Mission.

Staff have also been giving out bottled water left and right. Every night they team up with search and rescue. They travel outside the city center, handing out water bottles, snacks and other items to the homeless.

“A lot of those people won't leave those camps to come to services downtown. They don't want their things stolen. They don't feel safe. So we might be their only water resource,” Kean said.

The plan is to double the amount of water they give out this week, but there aren’t many water bottles left.

As extreme heat hits, Kean said they're asking for help and hoping people who have the means will donate bottled water.

People interested in donating bottled water can drop it off at the Union Gospel Mission at 3 NW 3rd Ave. in Portland.

The Mission’s hospitality room’s extended hours are from 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. The room reopens again from 7:15 p.m. - 9 p.m. Extended hours will continue as long as temperatures are above 95 degrees.

As for Meals on Wheels People, staff said they’re still looking for fan donations. To donate a fan, go to the Meals on Wheels website or drop off a fan at any of their 30 locations.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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