How to help those getting pummeled by extreme weather in Texas
Winter storms continue to move across the U.S. this week, while millions of Texans struggle to navigate power outages expected to continue until at least Thursday. According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), 2.7 million households are still without power as of Wednesday morning, a staggering number that was a relative improvement from earlier in the week.
Some cities in the state have issued boil-water notices as the storm wreaks havoc on utility infrastructures. One county alone reported more than 300 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning from dangerous attempts to stay warm. Harrowing tales of the desperation of the state’s residents are mounting. Preliminary reports say more than a dozen people have died from weather-related events across the country.
Americans nationwide are continuing to connect to help each other via the internet amid this national catastrophe, however. Twitter users from cold climates have shared tips for staying warm, crowdsourced resources for those without power and connected people to needed information.
We’ve compiled some of that collective knowledge so readers who are able can support the emergency needs of Texans in crisis.
Donate to groups providing emergency relief
Nonprofits and mutual aid networks are on the ground providing necessary survival items to communities, including food, warm clothes, transportation, and weather updates. Here are a few of many organizations in need of support, from a thread compiled by Twitter user Talia Jane (@itsa_talia) and beyond:
Crowd Source Rescue, a disaster relief non profit, is distributing food, personal heaters, and other preventative resources across the state. The organization is also covering hotel costs for Texas residents who are at threat of eviction. Go to their Texas freeze web hub to find out how you can donate or support relief work in other ways.
Mutual Aid Houston is distributing emergency resources and connecting volunteers with those in needs to provide transportation, food, and shelter. The network accepts donation on Venmo at @mutualaidhou.
Austin Mutual Aid is organizing donations to provide hotel rooms and lodging for unhoused Texans. The group is still accepting donations for its Kick the Cold fundraiser or you can Venmo directly at both @AustinMutualAidHotels or @AustinMutualAid.
Community advocacy group Cooperation Denton is asking for volunteers and material donations to help communities in the city. You can donate to the organization on Venmo or CashApp at @CooperationDenton, or sign up to volunteer using this form.
Texas Jail Project, an inmate advocacy group, is collecting donations for Texans who are currently incarcerated, including money for commissary funds, and filing complaints about weather-related neglect in county jails. Donate to the organization’s work here.
The mutual aid group Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club, operating in Denton and Collin counties, is distributing food, safety kits, and information to unhoused and lower income communities. You can donate to the group’s CashApp at $efjbgc.
Many nonprofits and hunger relief organizations are organizing emergency food donations across the state. Eater compiled a list of organizations helping feed Texans and how you can help.
Share, share, share
Intense winter storms have caught the Texas power grid, and many residents of the state, off guard and unprepared. Sharing relevant information about how to stay warm, where to get food, or how to find temporary housing can help close the information gap for those at risk.
ATTENTION EVERYONE – PLEASE HELP RT/SHARE THIS DOCUMENT:
I’ve compiled a list of links of resources for people currently facing the weather crisis in TEXAS: https://t.co/xYC73j82fG
Please RT/COPY the document and share it for visibility! Reply with any additional resources!!!
— DOXIE 🌻 (@dox_gay) February 17, 2021
NoirBnB, a Black-owned alternative to AirBnB, is asking users to offer warm homes, hotels, churches, or other shelters for temporary housing. You can email the company directly at Concierge@noirbnb.com if you would like to offer a space for Texans in need.
Crowd Source Rescue’s Rescue Map is an interactive website that allows volunteers to connect directly with those in need. Repurposed from Hurricane relief efforts, the map differentiates between calls for food or supplies, wellness checks, debris removal, and evacuation requests. You can sign up as a Crowd Source Rescue volunteer to assist anyone on the map.
Warming centers across the state have begun taking on the burden of warming Texans without power. Use this map to find a warming center near you or share with others. In addition to those listed on the official website, additional warming centers have sprung up elsewhere. NBC’s Dallas affiliate compiled a list of warming centers at local community centers in North Texas. NBC’s Austin affiliate published a list for Central Texas.
You can follow and add to the Twitter thread of warming centers below:
If you are near Richland Hills, Texas and need a warming center/shelter please call 817-427-6001.
They’re going to provide you with a location you can go to. FYI, they will tell you to pack a blanket, snacks, water, and masks.
Will add more resources as I find them.
— Mikiah Keener (@Mikiah_) February 16, 2021
Continue sharing safety information from disaster organizations and energy agencies, such as these:
Generators can cause dangerous hazards like fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Remember to:
🔹 Place them outdoors and away from windows.
🔹 Keep them dry and properly grounded.
🔹 Never plug them into a wall outlet or main electrical panel.
— FEMA (@fema) February 16, 2021
We will continue to update this story with more resources as they become available.
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