Knoxville Mobile Meals checks on seniors during cold weather

# # State

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - With this cold weather in control and likely to stick around a while, it's crucial right now to keep in mind those vulnerable neighbors. For some, especially seniors living in difficult circumstances, bitterly cold temperatures can become a matter of life and death.

Knoxville Mobile Meals delivers food every day to 950 seniors who can't leave their homes. It also gives volunteers a chance to see how they're doing, especially as we deal with dangerously cold temperatures. The food is hot which is a nice contrast to the bitter cold outside.

"I try not to go out too much,"
said Helen White, a client of Mobile Meals.

White gets dinner delivered everyday but in the winter, she appreciates volunteers making an extra effort to ensure she's staying warm.

"Cause you live by yourself and you're by yourself all day so it's like somebody caring and looking out for you,"
she said.

She's keeping her thermostat at 74 degrees. The Knox County CAC Officer on Aging is finding not many seniors do the same.

"They keep their thermostats really low to try to save money and its a really dangerous time to do that,"
said Susan Long, the director of the Office on Aging.

She says they work with KUB to avoid anyone's power getting turned off in the winter. They've also given out roughly 40 space heaters so far this season. All of them were donated.

"Oftentimes, these houses are poorly insulated. They were built a long time ago,"
Long said.

White does not worry about her electricity bill, but since it's just her and her dog at home, the daily check gives her comfort.

"I feel secure and I know they are going to come here and check on me,"
said White.

There are ways you can help these seniors as well. Knox County CAC is in need of new space heaters. You are encouraged to call their office if you have any questions. You can also make a monetary donation.

If you'd like to get more information on how to help CAC Office on Aging, the number to call is 865-524-2786.

If you're a senior and you don't want to turn up your thermostat, the Office on Aging encourages you to take advantage of one of their senior centers, like the John T O'Connor Center located on Winona Street at Caswell Park. The O'Connor Center serves hot meals and it's open from 8:30-4:30.