Agencies step up storm aid for seniors

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Social agencies and nonprofits serving seniors are stepping up their efforts just as hurricanes Iselle and Julio are about to hit the state.

The Lanakila Meals on Wheels program delivered more than 1,700 meals to Oahu seniors during the past two days, or enough food to last five days.

"This is probably the biggest emergency situation we've had in terms of the deliveries. Our normal biggest delivering days are Thanksgiving and Christmas when we do deliver to every senior but not on this scale," said Suzanne Rapoport, Lanakila's marketing coordinator.

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to storms and other natural disasters. About a third of Oahu's residents 60 years or older live alone and some are disabled and many have sight and hearing impairments.

"If the power goes out for example, and we're not able to get upstairs to people living in high floors, somebody has to up and and carry food and water," said Bruce Bottorff, director of communications for the AARP Hawaii.

Lanakila is not only providing food and drinks but is also reaching out their clients to remind them of the dangers of the storm. Meanwhile, the AARP Hawaii is taking to social media to urge their members to help senior citizen neighbors who may be at risk.

"We're visiting every senior today and yesterday. That way, we know everybody is okay and we know then are aware of the storm," said Rapport.

Seniors say they welcome the help.

"I am very grateful because I didn't know whether we were going to get our food for next week or not because everyone is shutting down," said Anita Rosales of Kalihi.

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