Share This Page

Westmoreland Agency on Aging delivers 'summer service boxes'

| Sunday, July 6, 2014, 11:15 p.m.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Jesse Nelson, a resident at Hempfield Towers, talks with Westmoreland County Commissioner Chuck Anderson at the senior hi-rise after receiving a Summer Service Box from the Area Agency on Aging on Thursday, June 26, 2014.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Dana Fullerton, an instructor at the All Kids Theater summer camp in Hempfield Towship, dances with a group of the camp's participants on Monday, June 23, 2014.

More than 700 senior citizens in Westmoreland County received “Summer Service Boxes” complete with drinks, snacks and gadgets to stay cool and beat the summer heat.

The Westmoreland County Agency on Aging delivered the boxes last week.

The contents, chosen to help during power outages caused by emergencies such as tornadoes or severe storms, include battery-operated fans and flashlights, bottled water, ice packs, toilet paper, snacks and a banner seniors can hang in their windows to alert rescue teams that they need help.

“The response (from the seniors) was overwhelming,” said Cindy Service, supervisor of the agency's Options Care Management Program. “You'd think it was Christmas. Some people just can't believe that we would think of something like this.”

The agency received funding through the Pennsylvania Lottery to cover the cost of the Summer Service Boxes and other programs.

Though the agency serves more than 44,000 seniors in some capacity through myriad programs, the staff reached out to its 700 neediest clients for the Summer Service Boxes program. Most live alone and don't have adequate outside support, Service said.

The agency administrator, Ray DuCouer, explained that older people are more susceptible to health problems that result from overheating.

“Sometimes the body is less capable of regulating temperature when it's older,” DuCouer said. “They're more likely to suffer from hypothermia and hyperthermia.”

Service added that the group specifically chose the items in the box because ice packs and battery-operated fans can keep people cool, she said, while providing drinking water and Gatorade packets encourages hydration.

Though the agency gave the boxes only to senior citizens in the immediate area, it hopes to inspire people of all ages to stay prepared for summer disasters, Service said.

“We are hoping through this education that people will think of the same thing and do this for themselves,” Service said. “You never know when it's going to hit, but you really want to consider being prepared.”

Alicia McElhaney is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or amcelhaney@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.