Tulsa Day Center Honors Homeless Tulsans Who Have Died

Monday, December 21st 2020, 9:43 pm

By: Amy Avery


While the event looks different this year, some Tulsans got together at the Tulsa Day Center to remember those who died this year.

This is the 20th year they’ve come together to read their names on the longest night of the year.

Those with the Tulsa Day Center said they normally have family members and invite the public to the service but couldn’t do that this year due to the pandemic. They said that however it looks this year, it’s important to honor them.

"It's a good day to remember and not just sad things, remember the happy stuff,” said Michelle Delo.

Delo said she was homeless for 14 months before she got a job at the Tulsa Day Center. She said she's met a lot of great people over the past two years, including her friend, Marilyn, who died from COPD.

“She kept thinking even though she was ill that she was going to get an apartment and she was going to take me with her and we'd live together and I knew none of this was going to happen but it was nice that she included me,” said Delo.

Marilyn's name was one of 45 names read aloud during the service.

Tulsa Day Center Executive Director Mack Haltom said they choose the longest night of the year, on the winter solstice, because nights living on the streets, are always long.

"I think it’s important for the public to know that homelessness is a big issue and people die from being homeless," said Tulsa Day Center Executive Director Mack Haltom. 

Haltom said it also helps bring peace to those who knew them.

"They're our friends, we have good relationships with them, and we know them. Oftentimes this is the only memorial they receive,” said Haltom. 

Delo said sometimes things can get busy in our everyday lives, so it's nice to have a night to reflect on the good times we've had with friends who are no longer with us.

"They've helped me get an apartment and I’m planning to buy a car,” said Delo. “But you sometimes forget to say oh yeah but remember Marilyn?"

The Day Center is always looking for warm clothing this time of year, like socks, gloves and sweaters. You can donate here.  


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