Local organizations working to protect vulnerable populations from heat

ROANOKE, Va. – Sunburn, heat exhaustion, and dehydration are just a few of the dangers you can face if you’re in summer heat too long. That’s why a couple of Roanoke organizations are trying to help.

“We’ve been seeing an exorbitant number of people, as many as 90 in the four hours that we’re open,” said Dawn Sandoval, founder of The Least of These Ministry (TLOT).

People experiencing homelessness can go to TLOT for a slice of watermelon, a popsicle, or water to rehydrate during the hours they’re open.

“Our unsheltered friends have no respite, so there’s nowhere they can go to a cool home or anything like that,” Sandoval said. “They’re just out in the elements the entire time. If you don’t have anywhere to go for your body to recover, it can become a serious medical situation.”

The elderly can also be heavily impacted by hot weather.

The Local Office on Aging offers free fans and air-conditioning units for those who meet their requirements. However, if you do not qualify, there are still steps you can take to stay cool.

“Wear light, loose-fitting clothing, drink plenty of fluids, and you know, just not overexert yourself,” said Ron Boyd, President and CEO of the Local Office on Aging.

Additionally, it’s very important to check on your loved ones during the high temperatures.

“Encourage family members, churches, friends, and neighborhoods to check several times a day on the seniors because many of them are homebound,” Boyd said.

TLOT is open at its Luck Ave. location on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information on the Local Office on Aging’s cooling program, call (540) 345-0451 or click here.

About the Author

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.

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