A major winter storm cut off access to power, heat and water for millions of people across Texas last week, which prompted United States President Joe Biden to declare a disaster in 77 counties to provide funds for temporary housing, home repairs and low-cost loans.
While the failed power grid has largely come back online, there have been dozens of deaths and major suffering as people unaccustomed to bitterly cold temperatures have had to deal with them in addition to damaged properties and shortages of food and safe drinking water. Many Texans have had to rely on assistance from mutual aid groups and charitable organizations to help get them through the crisis.
A relief campaign spearheaded by New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quickly raised approximately U.S.$5 million in donations using the Democratic fundraising tool Act Blue, and groups and individuals have been making contributions to a variety of organizations aiming to ease the pain.
For those interested in lending a hand and making a donation, here are organizations on the ground providing immediate relief to victims of the Texas ice storm:
Austin Disaster Relief Network is accepting monetary donations to pay for emergency housing, transportation and food items.
Austin Mutual Aid is raising funds to book hotel rooms for the city’s unhoused population and accepting food, water and toiletries donations.
Casa Marianella is an Austin-based organization aiding immigrant families by providing shelter, medical resources, food, clothing and more.
Central Texas Food Bank: shares free food and knowledge on low-cost, healthy eating with families in need; assists families who qualify for federal assistance programs; and makes food affordable for charitable and government partners.
Corazon Ministries in San Antonio serves homeless and marginalized people by providing hot meals four times per week as well as clothing, warm showers, hygiene items, access to primary medical care, optometry and dermatology care, haircuts, art therapy, recovery and prayer groups, and Bible study.
Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) has a mission to provide leadership that engages policymakers and community members to end homelessness in Austin and Travis County.
Family Eldercare is working to provide clean water, food, medications, necessities and resources to the elderly and medically fragile in central Texas.
Feeding Texas is helping food banks support warming shelters, replace perished food and feed Texans in need.
Feed the People Dallas is accepting cash donations and dry good items for its foodservice programs.
Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley provides food assistance, nutrition education and access to community services.
Food Bank of West Central Texas collects donated food to distribute to other non-profit agencies serving approximately 50,000 people in need or living in poverty.
Houston Food Bank is providing food, water, hygiene items and cleaning supplies.
Lucha Dallas is accepting donations via Venmo (@luchadallas) to provide hot beverages and meals to unhoused people in Dallas.
Mutual Aid Houston is accepting donations to be used for direct financial aid, wealth redistribution, rebuilding efforts, food, supplies, transportation and any other needs that may arise in the city.
North Texas Food Bank provides access to nutritious food for community members.
Para Mi Gente is a San Antonio-based mutual aid group that’s providing groceries, emergency housing and other supplies.
Southeast Texas Food Bank distributes food to approximately 130 non-profit agencies in eight counties that provide approximately 90,000 meals to people in need each month.
South Texas Food Bank collects and distributes food through partner agencies and programs while creating awareness and educating the community on the realities of hunger.
The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center has a mission to provide homeless adults in Dallas with the tools to recover and become self-sufficient in sustainable housing.
Trinity Mutual Aid is a mutual aid group run by students at Trinity University in San Antonio that provides aid on campus and in nearby communities. Donations can be made via Venmo (@trinitymutualaid).