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What's going on in Texas (and how you can help)

If you've been keeping an eye on the news, you've probably heard that Texas is facing a severe weather threat. Record-breaking cold temperatures are the result of harsh winter storms sweeping across the United States, and they have overwhelmed Texas, a state largely not used to these frosty conditions. 

Freezing temperatures have led to mass blackouts and power shortages that have affected millions of Texans. Texas has an independent power grid, which means the standard practice of importing emergency energy from other states can't be accomplished. Governor Greg Abbott has criticized Texas's power grid operations, and Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan wants a legislative hearing on the issue. 

The resulting consequences of the storm have been vast: car crashes, frozen pipes and water treatment plants, multiple deaths and disruption of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. President Biden has declared an emergency in Texas and has further ordered federal assistance to aid state and local efforts. 

Want to help? Here are some things you can do: 

If you have money to donate, consider giving to American Red Cross, Salvation Army or Caritas of Austin, all of which help give food, shelter and monetary support to Texans who have been hit hard by the storm. Mutual aid funds, such as Mutual Aid Houston, Austin Mutual Aid or Feed the People Dallas are also helping out.

More of a social media user? The Austin Area Urban League created the hashtag #LoveThyNeighborTX to encourage donations and awareness of what's happening in Texas. 


Image: twitter.com/justsanaa

If you want to help shelter pets and animals in Texas, Austin Pets Alive!, SPCA of Texas and Operation Kindness are all accepting donations of money, heating pads, dog beds and styrofoam coolers to help the animals stay warm and healthy.

Many Texans are facing food insecurity right now, and several organizations, like Feeding Texas, Mercy Chefs and Kid's Meals, are distributing food to places across Texas. They are accepting donations of both food and money. 

If you are in Texas right now, there are several warming sites (places where those without power can go to get warm) across the state, with a complete list HERE. If you or someone you know (family friends, relatives, etc) are able to open your doors to those without power, Airbnb has orchestrated an "Open Homes" program. 

In times of trouble, it's up to all of us to help. Texas, we're sending love and support.

Slider image: CNN

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by Elina Graham and Serena Sherwood | 2/20/2021
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