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Scottsdale looking for donations, volunteers for its ‘Beat the Heat’ senior program

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — More than 270 homebound senior citizens in Scottsdale, Ariz., are getting care packages filled with gift cards, water and other items, which are provided through the city’s “Beat the Heat” program.

Philomena Martin, 91, and her twin brother, David, live on their own at her condo in Scottsdale. David has Alzheimer’s and spends his days in a care program at a nearby hospital, but comes back home at night. Philomena likes to watch “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” and read.

She said that her secret to a long life is that in she has kept to a specific diet, especially when she was younger.

“I lived on Italian garden food and Grandpa’s homemade Italian wine,” she said.

On Thursday, the city delivered a bag of goodies to her.

“I got shampoo, my favorite toothpaste, a toothbrush and a pad. All things that we can use,” she said.

Scottsdale city social worker Jennifer Murphy said the bags are also filled $35 grocery gift cards, small snack items, personal hygiene items, stamps and nutritional drinks.

“These donations are all put together at the Via Linda Senior Center,” said Murphy. “They put the packages together, and then we deliver them.”

The Granite Reef Senior Center also helps with the project.

Murphy said that the Beat the Heat program is about more than just giving out free stuff to seniors.

“It’s more about the visit than it is about the goodie bag,” she said. “A lot of these folks are homebound. They’re not meeting with a lot of people, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to connect, and to talk and just have a nice visit.”

Scottsdale’s senior centers are looking for more donations as well as volunteers to deliver the care packages and visit with the seniors. You can visit the city’s website to find out more.