Occupy Philly protesters withstand the cold

THE DONATED scarves, some pink and frilly and others a stately plaid, were plucked up as soon as they were taken out yesterday afternoon as Occupy Philadelphia braced for another cold October night.

"Please, just take one," said Robby Hunter, a volunteer at Occupy's "comfort station."

Standing puddles of water still remained on the low-lying sections of Dilworth Plaza, a reminder of the bone-chilling mix that fell all day Saturday, soaking the occupiers and any tent not covered in a tarp.

Patrick, a 19-year-old volunteer from England, said most of the hundreds of people either hunkered down in tents Saturday or found a warmer shelter at Suburban Station. He said "one or two" people were sent to the hospital for weather-related issues.

"It was much more subdued here," he said. "People were smart about it."

Utility crews were still working to restore power to thousands of people beyond Occupy Philly who were affected by the rare October snow, which weighed down power lines and tree limbs and made area roads treacherous. The Red Cross opened warming shelters yesterday in Yardley and Phoenixville while in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie was still waiting for his power to be restored.

At Occupy Philly, Patrick, who would only give his first name, said a big concern with the wintry weather was weatherproofing tents with large, plastic tarps.

"Some of these tents aren't made to be out this long," he said. "The tarps help keep the wind and rain out and they keep the heat in."

At the food station, volunteers said the slush had collapsed some of their tents and tarps. Nearly everyone said more donations are needed, everything from sleeping bags to gloves to Sterno cans used to warm food trays.

"Somebody gave me a pair of hand-warmers that I stuck in my socks. My feet are feeling good now," said Tom Benson, who is homeless.

Hunter said clothes donations are pouring in, but the group needs larger clothes, particularly jackets as people layer up. "This stuff is going fast," he said. "People are preparing themselves."