Here’s How to Help Texas Right Now

After being hit with an unprecedented winter storm, Texas residents are in need of aid. Whether you can volunteer on the ground or donate money, here are some quick yet effective ways to help.

It’s hard not to notice what’s going on in Texas right now. The Lone Star state was hit with an unprecedented snowstorm earlier this month that left hundreds of thousands without power, heat, and running water. On February 18, just under 600,000 Texan homes and businesses were still without electricity, a result of Texas’ independent power grid failing under the frigid conditions of the storm. Millions of Texans have been advised to boil their water for safety, and pipes have been bursting. The situation, to say the least, is dire. Interested in helping but not sure where to start? Here’s how you can make a difference right now.

What You Can Do to Help

From donating to mutual aid funds to giving money to local food banks to volunteering your time with on-ground work, there are many ways you can help the people of Texas, either with or without leaving your own home. Remember that providing aid doesn’t just have to do with monetary donations, as there are many ways to volunteer.

Volunteers pass out plates of food during a water distribution event at the Fountain Life Center on February 20, 2021 in Houston, Texas.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Donate to Mutual Aid Funds

Donating to mutual aid funds throughout Texas is a surefire way to help alleviate some of the destruction caused by the winter storm. Mutual aid funds are organizations that exchange resources and services on a voluntary basis, and they are often utilized during times of disaster relief, economic strife, and social justice movements. Right now, mutual aid funds in Texas are prioritizing food distribution and disaster relief to those hit the hardest by the storm. You can donate to mutual aid funds throughout Texas right now, either through Venmo or on their websites.

Feed the People Dallas Mutual Aid

This Black/Latinx female-led collective organizes mutual aid to communities throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Donate directly to their Venmo account, @feedthepeopledallas, or on their website.

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Mutual Aid Houston

Mutual Aid Houston is a BIPOC-led abolitionist collective that works to boost mutual aid efforts within Houston. Donate directly to their Venmo account, @mutualaidhou, or on their website.

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Austin Mutual Aid

This Austin-based mutual aid group is collecting food donations at 310 Colorado Street, as well as raising money to help book hotel rooms for Austin’s unhoused population. Donate directly to their Venmo account, @austinmutualaid.

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Para Mi Gente San Antonio

Para Mi Gente San Antonio works to keep the citizens of San Antonio sheltered, clothed, and fed. Donate directly to their Venmo account, @pmgmutualaid.

Donate to Local Food Banks

Both the unhoused and housed populations of Texas are suffering from an inability to access food during these treacherous winter weather conditions. Major cities throughout Texas have multiple local food banks and organizations that are distributing food to Texans in need.

Good Work Austin

In Austin, Good Work Austin’s Community Kitchen helps distribute meals to those in need.

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Austin Disaster Relief Network

Jason Parish, a volunteer with the Austin Disaster Relief Network, delivers water to Beth Placek on February 19, 2021 in Austin, Texas.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

This disaster relief organization buys gift cards and pays for emergency housing, transportation, and supplies for people affected by weather-related incidents.

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Austin Area Urban League

Additionally, the Austin Area Urban League helps provide emergency shelter, food, clothing, and other supplies for the region’s unhoused population.

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Staff Meal Dallas

In Dallas, Staff Meal Dallas is providing complimentary meals from local restaurants to people impacted by the storm.

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North Texas Food Bank

The North Texas Food Bank operates a huge food distribution network for local food pantries and other food-related organizations.

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The Stewpot

This group is dedicated year-round to helping Dallas’ homeless and at-risk residents. It is providing meals to unhoused people who shelter at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas.

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Houston Food Bank

Texas Struggles With Unprecedented Cold And Power OutagesJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

This food bank, which is a certified member of Feeding America and was founded in 1982, raises money for meals for those in need throughout the Houston area.

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West Houston Assistance Ministries Food Pantry

West Houston Assistance Ministries Food Pantry provides people with their basic needs, from food to water to shelter. Personal-care items and baby essentials are also offered when available.

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Heights Interfaith Ministry Food Pantry

This ministry-based food pantry also helps deliver meals to families in need throughout Houston.

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San Antonio Food Bank

In San Antonio, the San Antonio Food Bank serves southwest Texas and works to alleviate hunger in the area. Each week, the group provides assistance to nearly 60,000 people.

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The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Southwest Texas Council

One of the longest-running charities in the area, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Southwest Texas Council, feeds, homes, and clothes those who are in need. The group works with 55 conference sites where people can receive help.

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Get Up Community Center Food Pantry

Helping those in need for the past 16 years, the Get Up Community Center Food Pantry fights hunger in Universal City, Texas, and its surrounding areas.

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Donate to National Organizations

The following groups have a lot of experience getting help to people in disaster-afflicted regions. These trusted charities know how to mobilize resources and put money to work.

The American Red Cross

The American Red Cross feeds, shelters, and provides support to those struck by disaster. Texas has multiple Red Cross chapters to which you can donate, including the American Red Cross of Central & South Texas, the American Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast Region, and the American Red Cross North Texas Region.

Donate Now

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army of Texas pledges to meet the needs of all humans without discrimination. Their locations also serve as warming centers.

Donate Now

Volunteer in Person

Volunteers load cases of water into a car during a water distribution at the Astros Youth Academy on February 20, 2021 in Houston, Texas.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If you are living in Texas and want to volunteer in person, food banks and other organizations are looking for people to help distribute funds and foods.

CrowdSource Rescue

CrowdSource Rescue is working to help senior citizens who are having difficulty coping with the dangerous temperatures created by the winter storm. The organization needs volunteers to help deliver food and other supplies to this vulnerable population. Sign up to volunteer.

Sign Up

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center

This regional blood center is looking for volunteers willing to donate blood, especially due to the fact that the winter weather caused thousands to skip their donations for the month. Sign up for an appointment.

Sign Up

Mercy Chefs

Mercy Chefs has deployed to Dallas, assisting in the efforts to feed the population with delicious hot meals. They’re looking for volunteers to help in the distribution. Sign up to volunteer.

Sign Up

Although much work still needs to be done in order for the people of Texas to get back on track, your contribution can go a long way in helping with this monumental effort.

Psst—birds are also affected by the snow and cold. Learn the 4 foods you should feed birds in winter and discover the truth about common winter bird myths.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest