The Lone Star State is going through a full-blown humanitarian crisis. An unprecedented winter storm tore through Texas on Feb. 15, and days later, millions of people are still straining to make ends meet amid nearly a week of record-low temperatures and prolonged power outages. As of Feb. 19, lawmakers and energy officials don't seem to have any clear answers on when the state's electric grid and water systems will be restored and regulated, per The Texas Tribune, and many communities — especially low-income communities of color — are struggling to maintain food, shelter, water, and warmth. So, here's how to help Texas after the winter storm, because this is still awful.
While the polar vortex triggered power outages in many states as it swept across the country, Texas suffered the brunt of the fallout. Over 4 million people were without power as temperatures bottomed out on Feb. 16, per NBC News, reaching lows the state hadn't seen in decades. The consequences were, and continue to be, dire. Many counties issued water boil notices as treatment plants shut down, creating drinking water shortages across the state. Grocery store lines stretched into parking lots and beyond as hundreds of people stood in line to try and secure meals amid city-wide food shortages. Several families reportedly died from carbon monoxide poisoning in fatal attempts to stay warm using gas-powered generators, grills, ovens, and vehicles. Burst pipes and water mains flooded and destroyed homes, leaving entire families without shelter.
President Joe Biden said he plans to sign a major disaster declaration as soon as Feb. 19, and has been speaking with Gov. Greg Abbot about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster relief. But there's still plenty of ways you can take action— here are 12 places you can send your money, time, or resources to help those in need.
1. March For Our Lives Texas
March For Our Lives Texas is a youth-led project dedicated to advocating for gun violence prevention and voter rights, but that's not all they do. Amid the state's unprecedented climate conditions, this project is collecting donations and directing them toward organizations working to feed, clothe, and house those in need. So if you're unsure about where to send your donations, March For Our Lives Texas is a great place to start. You can send your donations here.
2. Austin Mutual Aid
3. Houseless Organizing Coalition
Houseless Organizing Coalition is a revolutionary Houston-based organizing coalition, dedicated to addressing the socioeconomic conditions that lead to poverty and houselessness in America. This organization is working to provide food, shelter, water, and resources to struggling communities in Houston. You can donate here and here.
4. Feed the People Dallas
During America's ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the record-breaking winter storm has exacerbated food insecurity in Texas to a devastating level. Feed the People Dallas is a femme-led Black and Latinx mutual aid organization raising funds to provide relief to those in need of food, housing, water, and other supportive resources in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. You can send your financial donations here.
5. Para Mi Gente
Located in San Antonio, Texas, Para Mi Gente is a Latinx-led, community-based project providing material assistance to unhoused people. Amid the snowstorm, this organization set up an emergency mutual aid fund to help pay for food, shelter, groceries, medical supplies, and more to as many struggling families and individuals as possible. To contribute to the emergency fund, you can donate here.
6. Austin Pets Alive!
Are you an animal lover? Because of the snowstorm, the staff at Austin Pets Alive! has dealt with burst pipes, power outages, water shortages, and more — all while doing their best to keep the fur babies in their shelter warm and comfortable. To help this shelter stay safe, you can send your donations here.
7. AirBnB's "Open Homes" Project
Power outages, burst pipes, record-low temperatures, and icy roads in Texas have left many residents in need of emergency shelter. If you live in Texas or nearby, you can participate in AirBnB's "Open Homes" Project to provide temporary housing to someone in need. By opening your home and inviting someone in need to come stay with you, you can help Texas communities get back on their feet after the snowstorm.
8. La Unión Del Pueblo Entero
Located in the Texas Rio Grande Valley, La Unión Del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) was founded by labor rights activists César Chávez and Dolores Huerta to bring social change through community engagement. To help struggling residents survive through the Texas freeze, this organization is providing financial support in the form of gift cards to those in need of emergency shelter, food, space heaters, and more. You can donate here.
9. Laredo Community Fridge
In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the deadly snowstorm, many people in Laredo, Texas, are struggling to secure a consistent food source. The Laredo Community Fridge project is dedicated to providing free meals to those in need. Your donations will be used to buy groceries, toiletries, and other essential items to struggling families and individuals. You can donate here.
10. Free Lunch
Founded by Jazz Mills, Carrie Fussell Bickley, and Jade Skye Hammer, Free Lunch is an Austin-based food support program that focuses on the health and nutrition of those experiencing houselessness. Because these populations are some of the most vulnerable amid the freezing Texas temperatures, Free Lunch is dedicating their resources to helping those in need. You can donate here.
11. Black Futures Collective
Throughout America's ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Black and brown communities have been disproportionately impacted by evictions, job loss, food insecurity, and more. Because of the snowstorm in Texas, many of these communities are facing further disenfranchisement in the freezing temperatures. Based in San Antonio, Black Futures Collective is a community-based mutual aid project dedicated to elevating Black lives in Texas. In the aftermath of the cold weather, this organization is providing much-needed financial aid to struggling Black families and individuals. You can send your donations here.
12. Mutual Aid Houston
Over the course of the winter storm in Texas, over 1 million Houston residents faced power outages, water shortages, food scarcity, and more. Mutual Aid Houston is an abolitionist collective led by people of color, and is dedicated to providing financial resources to struggling city residents during and after the state's record-breaking storm. You can donate to their winter storm relief fund here.