It is expected that the Northeast will face record cold temperate this 2018 Thanksgiving holiday, and with the cold weather comes the additional need for shelter, hot meals, and care of the elderly as well as other vulnerable residents. The cold Thanksgiving weather is expected to hit the Northeast, including from NYC to Boston, Buffalo, Washington DC, the New Jersey area, and other major cities. Many cities are expected to declare a “Code Blue” (or equivalent) which means more resources are given to the low income as well as homeless.
The cold weather will not only cause a strain on all the charities that help the homeless, poor, and vulnerable, but it will also cause a spike in home heating bills, which will have a bigger impact on low income families. As will families be faced with higher utility bills during the holiday season, which will strain their budgets even more as they prepare for the 2018 holiday season…both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
What to do during the cold Thanksgiving holiday?
There are many places people can go during a cold weather stretch, including the following. Or they can also apply for emergency heating bill assistance from crisis LIHEAP grants. Both short term housing is available as well as cash assistance.
Shelters are available in most major northeastern cities, and they will often have “cold weather” rules that allow increased capacity during a stretch of cold weather. They will often open longer hours too. As a couple examples, the Open Door Mission in Rochester NY will double capacity if there is a code blue during Thanksgiving.
If the temperate is below 32 degrees during the 2018 Thanksgiving, the New York City area will also declare a Code Blue. This means that no one who is seeking shelter will be denied. The drop in Centers are open 24 hours a day, and homeless shelters take everyone in no matter what. They will also get a free hot meal, maybe some clothes or warm blankets, and other assistance.
The Boston Emergency Shelter Commission more than likely will also be open and operating during the Thanksgiving holiday. There are several shelters all throughout the city and counties that provide Thanksgiving meals, beds, and other resources. They also allocate more heating oil and financial aid to the low income as well as working poor.
Seniors and the vulnerable (mentally ill, disabled, etc.) are often at risk during the cold weather. Every year there are deaths in cities including NYC from those who both freeze during the winter (or die of heat) during the summer. It is estimated by the CDC that 1300+ people die each year in the US due to cold weather, hypothermia, and exposure to cold. And this may underreport the true number of deaths, and it of course does not include people who get sick or face other health challenges.
New York City also reports hundreds of hospital admissions and emergency room visits each year due to cold weather, with dozens dying. With the record cold 2018 Thanksgiving weather, that is a bad omen for potential fatalities this year.
Therefore, check on your neighbors. Give blankets, a warm meal, or help that old lady walk across the frozen streets! Be kind and considerate. For those fortunate enough to live in the southeast, where the temperatures are in the 60s during the day, they can also help their fellow Americans who are facing the cold by donating to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or many other charities in the Northeast. You can still give back to others who are at risk from the cold weather during the 2018 holiday and Thanksgiving season.