Texas is currently facing an unprecedented blackout crisis, leaving nearly three million people without electricity during the state’s biggest ice storm in years.
Boil water notices have been issued to residents of Houston and Austin, warning them to heat their water due to possible contamination from broken pipes, low water pressure, and offline treatment plants. On Tuesday night, Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sargent said that if the state couldn’t get its power grid under control, it could go down for a month.
Without access to power, and with roads across the state blocked off due to snow, Texans are relying on local assistance and help from their neighbors now more than ever. The past year has seen a proliferation of grassroots mutual aid groups across the U.S., spurred on by the pandemic but by no means limited to pandemic-related crises, and many of those same groups in Texas are now prioritizing food distribution, housing, medical care, and disaster relief to those most affected by the blackout.
Here are five mutual aid groups in Texas that are assisting in the ongoing blackout relief — and that are currently accepting donations.
Austin Mutual Aid: Austin’s mutual aid group is currently raising funds to book hotel rooms for the city’s unhoused population during the snowstorms. The group is also accepting food, water, and toiletries donations from local residents.
Mutual Aid Houston: Houston’s mutual aid group is currently accepting donations on GoFundMe and has provided links to other local organizations assisting during the blackout, including Houseless Organizing Coalition, Crowdsource Rescue, and the Parkhill Capital Foundation.
Feed the People Dallas: This mutual aid collective is currently accepting both cash donations and dry goods items (dried rice, beans, etc.) for its foodservice programs. You can find up-to-date info on mutual aid needs on the group’s Instagram page, or donate items from their Amazon wishlist. If you’re local, you can also volunteer to help prepare and distribute food items around the area.
Austin Disaster Relief Network: This disaster relief group is accepting monetary donations in order to pay for emergency housing, transportation, and food items.
Fight Dallas: A Dallas-based BIPOC organization that is currently handing out hot beverages and meals to unhoused people in the city. Donations are accepted via Venmo @luchadallas.