Winter Storm 2021
Easy ways to donate to Austin residents amid historic winter storm
Update: Due to the overwhelming generosity of locals, Casa Marianella is pausing food donations for the time being. Monetary contributions are still being accepted.
Austin hospitals are without water and relying on generators, a high-rise housing low-income seniors is entering its 100th hour without power, critical water mains are breaking, and the entire city is on a boil water notice — assuming you have the electricity to do so.
Tens of thousands of Austin residents are beginning their fourth day without power amid below freezing temperatures, and people across the country are looking for actionable ways to help. In the coming days, weeks, and months, there will be an examination of how this happened and the epic failure of leadership on every level — but we're not there yet.
Below are vetted ways to give money, donations, and volunteer your time to local organizations helping Austinites survive this unprecedented week. As we dig out from this historic storm, we'll continue to navigate the needs of our community and keep this story updated.
Black Leaders Collective Fund — Black Leaders Collective is creating a coordinated effort to provide critical emergency aid to community members impacted by recent winter storms. Donate here. BLC will also be at Sims Elementary for the foreseeable future giving out supplies to residents in need.
Good Work Austin — Good Work Austin has been working directly with restaurants to get thousands free meals to folks, and says they will continue to do so after the storm. Donate here.
Austin/Travis County EMS — Donate a meal to local emergency workers here.
Tankproof — This nonprofit is pivoting from its central mission of teaching children to swim and on Saturday, February 20, will be in East Austin preparing and serving meals to all community residents in need. Until further notice, all donations made to Tankproof will go towards Winter Storm Uri relief efforts as they endeavor to address food security in Austin. Donate and learn more about the February 20 meals here.
Austin Mutual Aid — Austin Mutual Aid works to help Austin's most vulnerable populations get into housing during this winter storm. Venmo @austinmutualaid or @austinmutualaidhotels. (Note the "s" on the end of hotels.) The group is also looking for drivers with four-wheel-drive vehicles and experience driving on black ice. Clothing donations of cold weather/winter gear, hand warmers, blankets, tents, and food (both perishable and non perishable) can be made at its emergency pop-up at 207 W. Fourth St. More information here.
Goods and services
Rebekah Baines Johnson Center — Many seniors have been stuck in their apartments since the blackout began on Monday, unable to use the elevator to leave the 16-story high-rise building. RBJ's food pantry, Serafina, is looking for donations, which can be made on the ground-floor level at 21 Waller St. Shelf-stable proteins (canned tuna, chicken, etc.); non-condensed soup; and other items that do not require cooking are among the items requested.
Austin warming centers — Local warming centers are continuing to look for volunteers. Currently, the city is using CapMetro buses to transport folks to the live-saving centers, but people are still needed to drive and staff the centers. Sign up here.
Know of more nonprofits or organizations in need? Please email details to firstname.lastname@example.org.