News & Opinion | February 19, 2021 3:48 pm

How to Help People in Texas During the Winter-Weather Crisis

Here's where you can donate to help those affected by the state's unprecedented winter storm

People carry groceries from a local gas station on February 15, 2021 in Austin, Texas.
People carry groceries from a local gas station on February 15, 2021 in Austin, Texas.
Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

People across Texas are facing power outages, food shortages and freezing cold temperatures since last weekend due to an unprecedented winter storm that has now killed at least 47 people.

Millions of Texans were affected by blackouts after the state’s power grid failed, forcing many to bundle up inside their freezing homes, seek warming shelters or, for those with chronic illnesses, ration oxygen and crowdsource generators. While power is being restored in Texas, 13 million people are under a boil-water advisory and are still without clean, running water. Additionally, many Texans are now dealing with massive damage due to pipe bursts in their homes and apartment buildings.

While some government officials are fleeing their state for the sunnier shores of Mexico, Mutual-aid funds, organizers, food banks and volunteers are working overtime to help Texans in need, and they could use your help. So wherever you currently are, here’s how to help and where to donate.

  • Donating to mutual-aid funds is one of the most effective ways to help Texans. These collectives are working to provide food, shelter, medicine, transportation and other support to those in need around the state. Mutual Aid Houston is accepting donations through GoFundMe and on Venmo and Cashapp under the handle @mutualaidhou. Austin Mutual Aid is also accepting donations through GoFundMe and Venmos @austinmutualaid and @austinmutualaidhotels (be advised there are fake handles going around so always double-check you’re donating to the correct account.) Feed the People Dallas is a Black/Latinx female-led collective providing aid to marginalized communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is accepting donations through its website, on Venmo @feedthepeopledallas and Cashapp $feedthepeopledtx.
  • The Dallas Wings Community Foundation, the American Fidelity Foundation and OurCalling are raising money to support those sheltering at the Dallas Convention Center. All monetary donations will be matched up to $6,000.
  • Donate to food banks in Texas. The weather crisis has disrupted the state’s food supply and Texans are running low on food while grocery stores are running low on stock. Feeding Texas has an online database of food banks across the state you can search by zip code. Eater Austin and Eater Dallas have also compiled comprehensive lists on where to donate money, food and supplies. Kids Meals delivers free meals to children-in-need in the Houston area and has lost many of its resources due to power outages. You can donate and help buy more supplies here, volunteer or make DIY lunch bags with items from this list.
  • You can also donate to disaster relief organizations like Crowdsource Rescue, a 100% volunteer organization that connects first responders and vetted civilian rescue teams with community members who need help in the wake of a disaster. West Street Recovery is a grassroots non-profit organization helping communities who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and is currently helping rebuild and repair homes and pipes in Houston damaged by the winter storm. You can help the effort by donating via its website, paypal.me/WestStreetRecovery, Cashapp $weststreetrecovery or on Venmo @ben-hirsch-4.
  • Those most affected by the winter storm are unhoused Texans. You can donate to the Houseless Organizing Coalition who is raising funds to buy weekly groceries and supplies for Houston’s houseless communities. You can also make a monetary or blanket donation to Front Steps, an Austin-based organization working to end homelessness. Acrylic blankets are preferred, as wool can be irritating and cotton soaks up moisture. You can learn more about donating blankets here.
  • For those in Texas, The Texas Tribune has compiled a list of organizations providing warming shelters, water distribution stations and other resources, as well as additional nonprofits and organizations seeking donations and volunteers.