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Life in an 'Occupy Wall Street' camp: thermal undies and Porta-Potty please

Even revolutions have more mundane needs, like food and shelter. The folks in 'Occupy Wall Street' camps are quickly becoming experts at how to keep protesters happy (and sanitary).

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As for food, lots of cooking is being done onsite, says Mr. Squibb. “We eat lots of burritos, quesadillas, rice and beans,” he says, “mostly for ease of preparation.” A lot of local restaurants donate food, too, he adds.

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Back in Los Angeles, on the other hand, “much food is cooked offsite and brought in by supporters,” says 29-year-old film student Joe Briones. “People stop by and bring itmes for us every day,” he says. Cars pull up in front of City Hall, beep their horn, and “we come empty their trunk." This is how a birthday cake arrived one day, he notes. “We’re feeding anywhere from 600 to 800 people every day,” Mr. Briones says.

Trash removal is happening on an ad hoc basis in many Occupy camps. In some cases, teams are charged with removing waste to dumpsters at friendly restaurants or individually packing out one's own trash to their homes.

Not every group has an answer to the most basic question, however.

Los Angeles has brought in portable toilets for the encampment and set up organized lists of nearby homes where protesters are welcome to shower. On the other coast, the activists in Boston have to make do with trips to local restaurants and friends' homes.

Former US marine, Bretton Holmes, who does not consider himself a participant in the movement, has watched the local protesters organize in front of the city hall in Austin, Texas, where he lives. No stranger to setting camp, Mr. Holmes ticks off a few essentials he would recommend to them. “Porta-Potties are critical. Food and water are critical. Sign-making stations are critical. First aid stations are critical,” he says via email.

“The drain that a large number of people can have on the local resources is enormous,” he points out, adding that a small platoon of Marines requires an enormous amount of resources to keep going, and by his estimation, “When there isn't a bona fide disciplined structure in place and the 'force' is amorphous, it can have a devastating effect on the area.” He adds, “Somebody's gonna eventually start clamoring for Porta-Potties and if those aren't forthcoming, it will get nasty in more ways than one.”

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