When the Grid Went Down, Texans Stood Up

The winter storm that swept through Texas and rendered nearly 70% of the Lone Star State powerless was met by resistance from proud Texans. People across the state stood up and provided for each other in this time of need. Here are a few stories of those whose efforts offset the failure of the state:

A group of local Houstonians, a part of the Texas Relief Warriors, made hot breakfast tacos for seniors centers. The volunteers gathered overnight to make 800 breakfast tacos and distribute them hot in the morning to seniors who couldn’t leave their homes because their building elevators lacked electricity. Many seniors had been without sufficient heat, water, and food for several days. “We had our volunteers going door to door, going upstairs in the dark delivering tacos,” Cara Adams, the group’s founder, said. “[The seniors] were excited and hungry for hot food. They were so grateful.”

A group of high school students from Houston got together to start a social service organization to help the needy in their community. Hadi Tamez, Daniel Patel, and Rumaysa Ali started the Houston Chapter of the Muslim Youth of North America. The chapter is focused on assisting the needy through volunteer service of their fellow young people in the Houston region. “We wanted, in this time of pandemic, to help those that are on the street, that are often forgotten, and sometimes invisible by assembling and distributing bags of food and provisions,” said Hadi Tamez, a junior at Westside High School. The youth group came together to collect food and warm clothes to distribute to homeless individuals in advance of the winter freeze. 

A Group of Austinites organized a temporary housing project to put 475 homeless people in various hotels. The City of Austin was caught unprepared by the storm and wasn’t able to find sufficient housing for those living without shelter. So, Bobby Cooper, the founder of Austin Mutual Aid, raised $300,000 to keep people out of the cold. He and his group went tent-by-tent handing out hotel vouchers, food, and clothing. “I was blessed and thankful that I was one of the chosen ones that the people came around where our tent was at and now we ended up here.” said Patricia Clark, one of the homeless people Austin Mutual Aid helped. 

Feed the People Dallas Mutual Aid, founded by Vanessa Wilmore, worked before and after the freeze to help the homeless people of Dallas. They didn’t yet know what the storm would entail. They gathered tents, organized food drives, distributed hand warmers, and moved people into hotel rooms. “Let’s help people. Let’s feed people,” said Vanessa Wilmore. After the storm, the organization continued their efforts to provide for the homeless and still collect donations.  

These shining examples lit up the Lone Star State, even on the dark, cold nights. 

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