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This article has been updated with a response from the City of Tulsa.
A mutual aid group has launched a call for donations to support Tulsa’s houseless population as a life-threatening arctic blast prepares to consume much of the United States.
Tulsa Food Not Bombs represents the local chapter of a national volunteer mutual aid group that shares free vegan and vegetarian meals and other basic necessities with hungry residents. The group is asking members of the community to donate funds or items immediately as a record freeze on Thursday will impact millions of Americans.
“Thursday night there will be a life-threatening windchill of -23. Donations are greatly needed to keep people safe. Donations go towards sleeping bags, blankets, gloves, handwarmers, coats, tents, and other warm weather supplies,” Tulsa Food Not Bombs posted on Facebook and Instagram.
Arctic Blast brings record freeze to Tulsa
An arctic blast bringing the coldest winter weather in nearly 40 years is set to come down from Canada this week, according to CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray.
“Temperatures will drop so low in some places that frostbite could begin in as little as five minutes on exposed skin,” Gray wrote on Monday.
According to the National Weather Service, hypothermia represents another threat. Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce.
The sub-zero temperatures will reach Oklahoma on Thursday, bringing with it a deadly threat to residents who don’t have secure housing. For the most part, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum’s response to the unhoused population has been to try to criminalize houselesness. The Black Wall Street Times reached out to his office for comment.
The City of Tulsa responded with a press release highlighting three warming stations that are open 24/7 for individuals and families seeking shelter. The three stations include John 3:16 Mission at 506 N. Cheyenne, The Salvation Army at 102 N. Denver Ave, and Tulsa County Emergency Shelter at 2401 Charles Page Blvd.
As recently as this past weekend, an unhoused man in his 50s died on the 5700 Block of Admiral Avenue, KTUL reported. Temperatures on the day he died hovered around 27 degrees, while the wind chill on Thursday is set to reach -23.
“Amazon is pretty backordered right now so buying stuff IRL (in real life) or donating funds is the best way to get these supplies to our houseless friends ASAP,” Tulsa Food Not Bombs posted.
The group is collecting physical donations at the following locations: Whitty Books (Admiral & Lewis), The Whittier Bar (Admiral & Lewis), Fulton St. Books & Coffee (Latimer & N Cheyenne), The Motherland (Apache & Peoria), Lambrusco’z To-Go (41st & Peoria), and Mercury Lounge (18th & Boston).