Nearly 560,000 homes and businesses in Texas were still without electricity Thursday morning, down from about 3 million the day before. Adding to the misery, the snowy weather has jeopardized drinking water systems throughout the state.
Texas officials ordered 7 million people — a quarter of the population of the nation’s second-largest state — to boil tap water before drinking. That order followed days of record low temperatures that damaged infrastructure and froze pipes.
As residents continue to seek warmth and shelter, there are several ways you can help right now no matter where you are.
- Donate to the Salvation Army which is providing shelter, food, and other necessary items to those in need throughout Texas.
- In Austin, the area Urban League has started the #LoveThyNeighborTX campaign to raise money for hotel rooms, food, water, clothing, and other basic needs of the housing insecure communities.
- Local small business Free Lunch is making deliveries of home-cooked meals, blankets, hand warmers, and hygiene kits to the Esperanza Community residents, a state-sanctioned shelter/campsite in the city.
- The Other Ones Foundation is also providing resiliency kits for residents of the campsite. The kits include basic needs for those experiencing homelessness.
- Austin Pets Alive! is working to keep pets across Texas warm and safe during the freezing conditions. The group needs heating pads, Styrofoam coolers, dog beds, heat lamps and monetary donations.
- Dallas-area organizations OurCalling, The Stewpot, Union Gospel Mission, and Oak Lawn United Methodist Church are pooling funds to help pay for temporary shelter as well as COVID-19 rapid tests for those in need.
- You can donate a care package or hygiene kit through the Integral Care Foundation, which can be delivered to Integral Care, 1430 Collier Street, Austin TX 78704
- Caritas of Austin is also helping those experiencing housing insecurity in the Austin area. You can support their work by making a monetary donation or ordering items from their Amazon wish list to be shipped directly to the center.
- 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.
- Donate to a food bank in Texas. Feeding Texas has a comprehensive list of food banks across the state, searchable by zip code.
- Live in Texas or nearby? Participate in AirBnB's "Open Homes" program by opening up your spare space to those in need or by donating. NoirBnB is offering a similar service, asking users to open up their homes if they are able to. NoirBnB can be reached by email via Concierge@noirbnb.com.
- The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) has put together a list of ways you can help Austin and Travis County residents, which includes ways to donate blankets, winter supplies, meals, snacks, monthly phone plans and more.