Occupy Austin protesters prepare for cold winter

Nick Hadjigeorge

Blankets, jackets, socks and other materials have been donated to the Occupy Austin protesters to help them combat the temperature drop.

Occupy Supply, a national program organized by the blog Firedoglake, raised more than $100,000 to bring supplies to Occupy protests around the country and has given more than 100 items to Occupy Austin, including hats, socks, jackets and blankets.

Occupy Austin protester Brian Overman said the demonstrators are anticipating much colder days ahead, and they are continuing to look for ways to stay warm.

“We are just beginning to experience the cold weather,” Overman said. “We are just starting to look at how we can brave the elements.”

Overman said the Occupy Supply clothing items feature the program’s logo and are produced in the United States by unionized workers.

Occupy Austin protester Donato John Patterson said cold weather supplies have been donated to the demonstrators in addition to the Occupy Supply materials.

“Random people stop by and give us blankets and other items,” Patterson said. “We’ve had about 150 blankets donated so far.”

Patterson said the demonstrators will need less blankets if they have sleeping bags designed to withstand colder temperatures.

“The people here have poorly insulated materials,” Patterson said. “It will be consistently cold in January, and they won’t be able to withstand freezing temperatures with what they have now.”

Patterson said other factors highlight the need for better supplies at Occupy Austin, such as the wind chill factor and the regular plaza pressure-washings.

“Lady Bird Lake is so close to City Hall, and the water can increase the wind chill factor significantly,” Patterson said.

“When the city pressure-washes the steps, it takes longer for the ground to heat up, which makes sleeping more difficult.”

Patterson said cold weather supplies are not the only materials in short supply, but also food and water.

“As the temperature drops, people will need more energy and protein to handle the cold weather,” Patterson said.

Printed on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 as: Bloggers, supporters supply Occupy Austin with winter equipment