How to Help Families in Texas Amid the Power Outages and Dangerous Freezing Conditions
People all across Texas have been left without electricity following a deadly winter storm. More than a million people in the U.S. were left without power as a result of the weather, and the state of Texas alone accounted for nearly half with 511,421 yesterday, according to the tracking site poweroutage.us.
And if that wasn't enough, NBC News reports that water service has been disrupted for more than 12 million residents, and at least 37 people have died because of weather-related fatalities since Thursday, the majority in Texas.
Here are several ways you and your family can help.
1. Donate to Relief and Recovering Funds
Mutual Aid Houston, a BIPOC-led abolitionist collective boosting mutual aid efforts within Houston, has been so overwhelmed with support that they're not currently accepting donations, but they've asked on their GoFundMe for people to consider the following Houston-based organizations instead:
Crowdsource Rescue: A 100 percent volunteer organization using next-generation technology to quickly connect professional first responders and vetted civilian rescue teams with people in the community who need help after disaster strikes. They've been distributing food, water, generators, and heaters to people without power or water.
Houseless Organizing Coalition: A revolutionary coalition fully operated by BIPOC organizers building dual power within Houston's houseless community. They are currently distributing supplies and addressing needs for those in our houseless community.
West Street Recovery: A grassroots non-profit organization which aims to use efforts toward recovery after Hurricane Harvey to build community power.
Houston Food Bank: Serves more than 1.1 million people in the 18 southeast Texas counties and distributes food and other essentials to those in need through a network of 1,500 community partners.
2. Make Welfare Check Calls
Former Congressman Beto O'Rourke is leading the charge on a volunteer campaign to call vulnerable seniors in Texas, connecting them with warming centers, shelter, food, and water. The politician tweeted that 151,000 calls were made to seniors in Texas last night, and one volunteer talked to a man stranded at home without power in Killeen who hadn't eaten in two days. The volunteer managed to get him a ride to a warming center and a hot meal.
The response to pitch in has been so overwhelming, in fact, that they've created additional shifts.
Sign up here or check O'Rourke's Twitter for the latest.
3. Support Families
Baby2Baby provides children living in poverty with diapers, clothing and all the basic necessities that every child deserves. The organization has distributed 60 million essential items including diapers, formula, clothing, cribs, soap, shampoo, school supplies, hand sanitizer, masks, food, and more to children all over the country during the pandemic. Now, they're turning their attention to children in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. Donating will help Baby2Baby provide cold weather supplies to families in need across the country.
Black Mamas ATX is Central Texas non-profit committed to ensuring Black women survive and thrive before, during, and after childbirth. Donations support Black women and their children throughout Central Texas during this particularly challenging time.
4. Donate to Food Banks and Community Fridges
Feeding Texas, a statewide, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, notes on their website that food banks across the state are supporting warming shelters for the unhoused, as well as those without power and water. Many food banks have also experienced supply chain disruptions and severe loss of perishable foods due to power outages. Donations help food banks respond and recover.
Feed the People Dallas is a Black/Latinx, female-led, collective organizing mutual-aid to local communities throughout the Dallas Fort-Worth metroplex. Their mutual aid program supports folks with free groceries and community care. You can donate cash or check out their Amazon wish list.
Houston's Bread of Life has worked to eradicate food insecurity, improve health outcomes, and provide resources to the greater Houston community for nearly 30 years. Now, Beyoncé's BeyGOOD Foundation and Adidas are teaming up with the organization to help those in need. You can join them by donating to the organization's disaster relief fund. And people who are in need of immediate financial assistance—up to $1,000—can apply via their Disaster Relief Assistance Application Form.
You can also find a list of community fridges to support on Mutual Aid Houston's GoFundMe.