Oklahoma Man Starts 'Project Winter Watch' To Help The Homeless

Friday, January 15th 2021, 5:20 pm
By: Karl Torp


Oklahoma City’s Ryan Cristelli moves at a rapid pace packing his car full of sleeping bags, socks, gloves and hand warmers.

“That’s the good stuff,” he said while holding up a pair of thick gloves. “They have to have that squish factor,” he said while squeezing a pair of socks from his storage unit in northwest OKC.

Cristelli has learned over the last few years which sleeping bags work best of people living on the streets.

“I’m the most popular guy in the homeless encampment for the 15 to 20 minutes,” said Cristelli.

Cristelli started Project Winter Watch three years ago after hearing of four homeless people who died from exposure.

“The cold doesn’t care how you got there,” said Cristelli.

He hands out the gear once every week or so to people without a home.

His profiles on social media show those getting the gear help with donations that keep the storage unit stocked.

“Last week, it was 33 bags in five minutes,” said Cristelli.

Cristelli is a creative director for NASA. He’s seen multiple rocket launches in Florida, but handing the gear out to homeless people who could really use it when it’s really cold gives him the ultimate rush.

“The most warm syrupy goodness I have felt in my life,” said Cristelli.

News 9 followed Cristelli this week as he handed out his rugged gear.

“If helps me physically stay warm, but mentally it helps more than he'll ever know,” said Casey Allen.

Allen has been homeless for the past three months.

People can go to Project Winter Watch on Facebook and buy supplies that will go directly to Cristelli and be donated.

“At the base of all of us, we want to feel loved,” said Cristelli.