RSVP provides fans to elderly amid summer heat

OG&E's Casey Cameron and Darren Gilbert unload fans Tuesday morning at Enid Senior Center. Enid RSVP partnered with OG&E and Stride Bank to help low-income and elderly Enid residents keep cool during the summertime. (Cass Rains / Enid News & Eagle)

ENID, Okla. — Enid’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program held a fan donation to seniors in the area Tuesday.

The event, a partnership with OG&E with the support of Stride Bank, was planned to help low-income and elderly Enid residents keep cool during summer.

“We’re partnering in this endeavor to make sure that our Enid area residents have the ability to have a fan that’s donated by OG&E,” RSVP Executive Director Christy Baker said.

The fan donation started in the mid-1990s and has been an annual event in Enid, typically donated to Salvation Army. The box fans usually are donated in mid-June, but they were a little behind schedule due to a glitch this year, OG&E community relations coordinator Jamie Moore said.

“We’re hoping to get at least 75 fans distributed today,” Moore said. “The gap’s going to be filled by Stride Bank, they’re going to be donating something additionally to what we have here today.”

The fan donation is part of the silver energy program to keep seniors cool and also help them remain independent, Moore said.

“We work with another partnership in that silver energy program,” Baker said. “Some things in their homes need to be working or together before they can apply the silver energy program, so we have a handyman through RSVP… so that we just make that transition for them easy and that we help them in their homes for longer.”

Baker said if there are any leftover fans they will be provided to RSVP’s commodity box recipients as needed. The recipients are 288 seniors from across the region who receive commodity boxes from the organization, and the requirements for the fans are people 60 and over or who have a disability.

Stephanie Collums, Stride Bank director of public relations, heard RSVP was giving out box fans Tuesday, and since the heat had gotten pretty intense over the last few days the bank decided to help out.

“I think anything that we can do for our seniors is a huge impact on every community," Collums said. “I think they’re very underserved and I think that this is a way we can make a difference in a lot of people’s lives.”

Lena Finley was one of the people who received a fan at the senior center and said she felt blessed that RSVP has so many benefits.

“This place is blessed to have things for elderly,” Finley said. “They help a lot of people, they feed them ... they treat everybody nice.”

Finley said she knows a woman who’s air conditioning went out and she was able to get a fan because of RSVP’s services, and that Finley’s own fan had gone out.

“There’s a lot of people that need them,” Finley said. “There’s people that don’t have air conditioning … it’s a blessing that I have coolness in all this heat ... the heat ain’t good for us.”

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Miller is a 2019 summer intern for the Enid News & Eagle.

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