How to Help Texans During the Winter Storm Crisis

·5 min read
Photo credit: Montinique Monroe - Getty Images
Photo credit: Montinique Monroe - Getty Images

From ELLE

Winter storm Uri has left Texas in a state of crisis. After days of frigid weather, millions were left this week without heat or electricity as snow, ice, and freezing temperatures "caused a catastrophic failure of the state’s power grid," according to the Houston Chronicle. As of Feb. 16, more than 4.2 million customers had lost power, per Vox, all while some Texas cities had temperatures as low as four degrees Fahrenheit. In other areas, people have experienced rolling blackouts, where power is shut off for limited periods of time. NPR reported on Feb. 18 that there has been a surge in carbon monoxide poisonings as Texas residents without power seek warmth from dangerous sources, such as barbecue pits, charcoal grills, campfire stoves, portable generators, and car engines.

Conditions outdoors are also exceptionally dangerous; on Feb. 11, CNN reported that at least nine people had died in car crashes related to the winter storms across the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In response, President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency in Texas, and the National Guard has been deployed to help local authorities get residents to one of 135 warming centers. Activists have also been working around the clock to find food, supplies, and shelter for Texans currently experiencing homelessness.

Aside from Biden, other political leaders are encouraging their supporters to do their part for Texans. On Thursday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that her followers and others had raised $1 million to support Feeding Texas, Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO), Family Eldercare, Houston Food Bank, The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, Corazon Ministries, North Texas Food Bank, Central Texas Food Bank, and Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley through ActBlue. You can donate to support here.

"As a thank you to everyone who contributed & amplified, I'l be going to Texas this weekend to visit w/ @LaCongresista in Houston & highlight what's happening on the ground," she wrote, tagging Texas Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia.

This crisis in Texas is far from over, as 13 million residents still don't have access to clean, running water as of Feb. 19, per CBS News. Meanwhile, hospitals affected by the storm are facing an increase in patients in need of dialysis treatment and oxygen tanks.

Below, find just a few ways that you can continue to help those across the state stay warm and housed throughout this storm. Please keep checking mutual aid funds, as some have been overwhelmed with donations and have briefly paused accepting more so they can focus on distributing their resources. There are plenty of other funds accepting donations and resources at this time.

Here are some good places to start:

Mutual aid funds and monetary donations

  • Austin Mutual Aid is raising funds to book hotel rooms for residents living outside without water or shelter.

  • The Texas-based Ending Community Homelessness Coalition has put together a list of organizations that are currently working to support unsheltered people in Austin and Travis County.

  • A "city wide housing justice union" called Dallas Stops Evictions has been organizing to help tenants with direct payments of $100. PayPal at DallasStopsEvictions@gmail.com is preferred at this time.

  • Para Mi Gente Mutual Aid in San Antonio has been accepting donations via Cash App at $ParaMiGenteSanAnto, but halted donations until Feb. 19. Please keep an eye on their Twitter here and Instagram here for future donation requests.

  • Feed the People DFW is a "Black/Latinx women-led collective that organizes mutual aid" and is accepting donations here. As of Feb. 18, the organization's Storm Aid form was on hold while they accommodate the requests they've received. Keep checking the site if you need to request aid.

  • The Solid Ground Ministry is now serving as a cold weather shelter for families and individuals. You can donate to their operations here.

  • The organization Maximizing Hope is raising money in order to purchase hotel rooms for people in the Austin area.

  • Dallas-area organizations Austin Street Center, OurCalling, The Stewpot, Union Gospel Mission, and Oak Lawn United Methodist Church are pooling money together to pay for temporary shelter as well as COVID-19 rapid tests for those in need.

  • Texas jails and prisons are experiencing dangerous conditions including freezing indoor conditions, rationed meals, un-flushable toilets, and overfilled dorms. Donations to the Texas Jail Project allows the organization to advocate for the needs of incarcerated folks living in these unsanitary conditions.

  • The Austin Area Urban League is hosting a donation drive to aid in emergency support.

Where to drop off food, clothing, and other necessary supplies

  • Houseless Organizing Coalition in Houston is accepting the following supplies. DM them for their preferred drop-off location.

  • The Forth Worth community fridge Funky Town Fridge is accepting food donations (list here) and monetary donations at@FunkyTownFridge on Venmo and $FunkyTownFridge on Cash App. Their most urgent need right now is clean water and Similac:

  • The People's Fridge DTX is accepting donations to their community fridge. Please check their Instagram for the latest. Right now, they are asking for shelf-stable items, water, and pre-packaged meals at their Oak Cliff and Far East Dallas locations:


If you live in Texas and do have power, you can also help your neighbors by trying to conserve electricity as much as possible. Find best practices here.

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