With cooler weather and winter storms just around the corner, officials with the Extreme Weather Task Force (EWTF) reminded Borderland residents of the need for blanket donations and cold weather safety.
“Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we will not hold our usual kickoff news conference,” said Grace Ortiz, APS Community Engagement Specialist and EWTF Chair. “But, we want people to know the EWTF is actively working on providing blankets to the most vulnerable in our community who may not have adequate heating in their homes.”
“Our goal is not simply to collect and distribute free blankets, we want to check on people and educate the community on how to stay safe in cold weather,” Ortiz continued.
During the past 3 years, the Extreme Weather Task Force (EWTF) has collected and delivered almost 2,000 free blankets to the elderly and needy families in our community.
“Currently, we have only 100 blankets in stock,” said Ortiz. “Our inventory is low. In order to be able to fulfill the blanket requests, we are asking the community to donate new blankets.”
To help save lives, the EWTF stresses use of the “Buddy System.” This simply involves having a trusted relative, friend or neighbor contact an elderly or disabled person daily during a cold wave.
A Buddy encourages an at-risk individual to stay warm by wearing layers of clothes, to eat well, drink plenty of fluids and heat their home safely. If there are errands to be done, the Buddy does them, or makes sure they get done.
Those most at-risk for hypothermia include: elderly people with inadequate food, clothing or heating; babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; children left unattended; adults under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs; mentally ill individuals; people who remain outdoors for long periods (the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.)
Those in need of a blanket (who meet EWTF criteria) should call 2-1-1.
New blanket donations can be dropped off any time at El Paso and Horizon City fire stations. Corporate and monetary donations are welcome payable to the APS Silver Star Board.
The mailing address is:
Attention – Grace Ortiz, Adult Protective Services
401 E. Franklin, Suite 350,
El Paso, TX, 79901.