REIDSVILLE, N.C. — The only place where Melba Lawson can catch a cool breeze these days is on her front porch.
She lives in a mobile home in Reidsville and even with five fans in her trailer, nothing is cooling down.
“It’s hot in here,” Lawson said. “It is very hot in here.”
It’s normally 80 degrees in her living room, a room she’s looking to place her sixth fan.
She’s had to deal with the heat for two summers back to back. Her air conditioner gave out last year.
Lawson is 75 and lives on a fixed income. She says she can’t afford a new one.
“I need some air,” Lawson said.
“There is a definite need,” said Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page.
Page helps collect fans for seniors every summer but this year the demand is higher.
“When you’ve got 200 requests that’s pretty significant,” Page said. “That’s more than I’ve heard in the past.”
Both the Sheriff’s Office and Rockingham County’s Red Cross have collected 10 donated fans over the past two weeks and those went fast.
“People have been calling,” said Leigh Brock, regional communications director for the American Red Cross in Rockingham County. “People have been asking for these fans. And this is just the very beginning of summer. It’s only going to get hotter from here.”
Page says for many seniors staying in mobile homes, not only is it more expensive to pay for an air conditioner but also for the extra power that it would take to run one.
“People worry about ‘What is my electric bill going to be,’” Page said.
It is a concern they’re trying to help ease, collecting as many fans as possible so seniors like Lawson can keep cool.