Warming shelter aids county residents
An Arctic front that blasted the area over the last few days is slowly exiting the region as county residents look forward to warmer temperatures in the upcoming days.
Record setting temperatures enveloped the state, bringing not much snow, but keeping road slicks, and schools and businesses closing to help protect citizens.
In response to the cold weather, the City of Okmulgee, in collaboration with First United Methodist Church and Okmulgee County Emergency Management opened a warming shelter at 302 S. Seminole, at the Rowe Family Life Center. The shelter is expected to remain operational until noon today.
According to information from organizer Rose Lynch, the community and various agencies graciously volunteered their time and efforts to help set up the center, along with providing water, money, food, blankets, and even homemade crochet hats for the needy.
Lynch shared the following information about the warming center and the great generosity from churches, individuals and organizations and agencies around the county: — Sunday & Monday
• A huge thank you to all the volunteers, Rev. Sheri Smith Lashley, pastor of First United Methodist Church, a long list of people, businesses and churches who donated.
• Thanks to Danna Martin, Helen Nygard, Jeanette Taylor, Dr. Bill Bryant, Faith Elaine Gasaway, Tommy Mchuen, Misty VanWinkle, Robin Fitzl, Linda Gerster who spent hours helping set up, organize, check in on us and be hall monitors for the warming center.
• Thanks to Jeff Moore, Okmulgee County Emergency manager; Ken Anderson, City of Okmulgee Emergency Management, Okmulgee police officers and Okmulgee County Sheriff ’s Office deputies who stopped by to make sure they were all safe.
• Red Cross loaned us 50 cots, which Bill Martin, Willie Hoffman and Kevin Gaines put together, and many blankets to keep warm.
— Day 2
• So far we have offered 15 hot showers.
• We gave three people a new set of clothes and washed/dried their clothes so they are in clean clothes.
• One man had the bottom of his shoe fall off and thankfully, a helper took him to our Okmulgee County Homeless Thrift store to get a new pair of sneakers.
• A couple came in early this morning barely walking from being stiff from the cold. We made sure they didn’t have frostbite, offered a hot breakfast, coffee, and then hot showers. They said they felt loved and I reminded them they were!
• We fed 10 people today. Thanks to Linda Gerster and Gale for providing us with homemade white sausage gravy and biscuits and Paula and Michael Eslick for the donuts. Mr. Been showed up and had three gallons of orange juice, and then went to Walmart purchasing eight new pillows for our clients.
• Someone provided a lunch of homemade cabbage, sausage soup, and others donated oranges, apples and snacks.
• Danna and Bill Martin cooked two turkeys so we had open faced turkey sandwiches with gravy, green beans for dinner. Calvary Baptist helped with volunteering and to serve dinner.
• There are so many community stories of everyone reaching out, for helping, praying for this outreach. This cannot happen without our community lovingly reaching out and asking what we need.
• Thank you to Paula and Michael Eslick, Lyn Miles, Katie Henley, Rae Thompson, Bill Bryant, Terri Herbert, J.D. and Kristi Meredith, Mr. Been, Helen Nygard and so many others who wish to remain anonymous for your help today!
• We have a list of volunteers round the clock helping, and that gives us all a break to rest ourselves. So many have come forward anonymously dropping clothes, hats, scarves, games for kiddos (if we get any) and blankets!
-“Thank you, Okmulgee County, for caring for the ‘least of these.’ My heart is so proud of all the great folks who gave without expecting a return,” Lynch wrote.
The City of Okmulgee and Okmulgee County extends its gratitude to all volunteers, donors and partners involved in this effort, emphasizing the importance of community solidarity in times of need.