The annual Pete Moore Automotive Team Senior Chill Out, a one-day donation drive for new air conditioners, fans and funds from the community to help seniors beat the heat, will be held by Council on Aging of West Florida, WEAR ABC 3, WFGX 35, Cat Country 98.7, NewsRadio 92.3, and Lowe’s Home Improvement on Friday, June 2. The event will take place at area Lowe’s stores (Fairfield Drive, Airport Boulevard, and Nine Mile Road in Pensacola; Highway 98 in Gulf Breeze; and Highway 90 in Pace) from 6 am to 6 pm. The community is encouraged to help seniors who experience dangerous health complications as a result of stifling summer heat by donating AC units or fans. Monetary contributions are also appreciated and can be made online at seniorchillout.org.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, extreme heat often results in the highest annual number of deaths among all weather-related disasters. The elderly population is particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of excessive heat due to their often-decreased ability to regulate temperature. They are also in potential peril because of medical conditions and prescription medicines that can impair their ability to feel hot or even perspire. This leads to a downward cycle of health conditions that can result in disorientation, falls, and unforeseen emergency medical care.
“We’ve had a relatively mild spring, but we know the summer heat will be upon us soon, and that’s when the elder members of our community will be vulnerable to potentially life-threatening health complications if they don’t have air conditioning,” said Josh Newby, President/CEO of Council on Aging. “Each year the community is incredibly generous in coming together to keep our seniors safe and comfortable in their homes through this long, hot season.”
Council on Aging senior volunteer Starletta Britt says she’s grateful to donors to last year’s event. She received her air conditioner unit after calling and answering a few questions to determine her eligibility. “It was a big help, and still is!” Britt said. “Being able to relax in a cool home is awesome.”
Each year, hundreds of local elders are helped through the program. In 2022, Council on Aging helped more than 900 at-risk older adults avoid the hazardous effects of heat-related health complications.
Information on heat stress and heat stroke will be available at the event, as well as information on how our community’s vulnerable seniors can receive donated AC units and fans. Fans and ACs will not be distributed during the event on June 2. Individuals interested in receiving a fan and/or AC should call Council on Aging at (850) 432-1475 beginning June 5. Only individuals ages 60 and older will qualify.