Extreme Weather Task Force holds fourth annual ‘Winter Safety and Blanket Drive’ campaign

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — In anticipation of cooler, winter temperatures rolling into the Borderland, the Extreme Weather Task Force continues to ask for blanket donations from the El Paso community.

Blanket donations can be dropped off any time at El Paso and Horizon City fire stations.

Corporate and monetary donations are welcome and payable to the APS Silver Star Board. The mailing address is Grace Ortiz, Adult Protective Services, 401 E. Franklin, Suite 350, El Paso, TX, 79901.

“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 three years, the EWTF has collected and delivered almost 2,000 free blankets to the elderly and needy families in the 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 this winter season, the EWTF stresses use of the “Buddy System.”

This 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; and people who remain outdoors for long periods (the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.)

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