After the Storm: How to Help

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Unprecedented winter storms have blanketed Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, causing bitter cold temperatures and widespread power outages throughout much of the state. 

President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency, which makes people eligible for federal assistance. Still, the need for help is immediate as many struggle to find shelter, food and warmth in these dangerous freezing conditions.

Here is how you can help:

Texas

The Salvation Army provides shelter, food, and other necessary items to those in need throughout Texas. 

The American Red Cross is supporting at least 35 warming centers with cots and blankets across the state.

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. 

Mercy Chefs is providing hot meals, clean drinking water and USDA Farmers to Families grocery boxes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

The Houston Food Bank is also distributing food to those in need.

Austin 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. 

Dallas-area organizations Austin Street Center, OurCallingThe StewpotUnion 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.

Lucille’s 1913 Community Kitchen is preparing and distributing meals in the Houston area.

Caritas of Austin also helps 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 Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County is supporting warming centers throughout Houston and Harris County.

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.

Save the Children is helping storm-damaged child care and early learning centers in Texas recover. They are also providing hygiene kits, bottled water, warm clothing and PPE to shelters. 

The Impossible Roads Foundation, along with their clean water partner, MSR, has given forty SE200™Community Chlorine Makers, from its Oregon and Washington operations to the American Red Cross to facilitate a push button solution that makes safe, drinkable water for a whole community.

Oklahoma

The Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma is asking for donations so it can operate its day shelter and extend its street outreach efforts. According to the organization, it can provide a week’s worth of lunches to a person at its day shelter with a donation of $4.

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma has an ongoing call for financial contributions, as well as donations of nonperishables and dry goods.

The American Red Cross in Oklahoma is asking for monetary contributions as well as blood donations, which the group notes are in short supply.

Louisiana

The Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness & Housing, which serves eight parishes in the state, is seeking donations to both its general fund and its emergency hotel shelter fund.

According to the Foodbank of Northeast Louisiana, one in five people in its area faces hunger. The organization says it can help provide 55 meals with each donation of $10.

Before you donate …

Make sure to research any organization on trusted sites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar, which rate nonprofits based on their effectiveness and financial condition. These sites can also show whether the organization’s goals and practices align with your values and beliefs. For example, those interested in giving to nonprofit organizations focused on climate change, which is linked to the intensity and frequency of natural disasters, may want to consult Charity Navigator’s list of organizations chosen by environmental experts.

The Internal Revenue Service’s database can tell you if the organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible donations.

The Impossible Roads Foundation will continue to update this list as more organizations respond.

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