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Energy & Environment
Central Texas experienced historic winter weather the week of Feb. 14, with a stretch of days below freezing. Sleet followed snow followed freezing rain, leading to a breakdown of the electric grid and widespread power outages. Water reservoirs were depleted and frozen pipes burst, leaving some without service for days.

Wanting To Help Out After Austin's Winter Storm? Here's Where To Volunteer This Week And Beyond

Volunteers (from left to right) Mike Kelley, Elissa Korman and Suzanne Johnson organize donations and distribute food, water and other necessities at Sims Elementary School as part of an emergency supply distribution organized by the Black Leaders Collective on Saturday.
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
Volunteers (from left to right) Mike Kelley, Elissa Korman and Suzanne Johnson, work to organize donations and distribute food, water and other necessities at Sims Elementary School as part of an emergency supply distribution organized by the Black Leaders Collective on Saturday.

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Most Austin residents have had their electricity and water restored, but many are still reeling in the aftermath of the winter storm. Some lost income last week or were displaced after the freeze damaged their homes. Many are now struggling to find and afford food.

"Once we get water to everyone, the biggest need is food and food insecurity," Travis County Judge Andy Brown said Monday.

If you want to help out, but can't volunteer, the Austin Area Urban League, which supports underserved groups and people of color, is requesting donations and has raised more than $1.3 million so far. You can find additional organizations and groups requesting monetary support below.

RELATED | Looking For Water? Here Are The Official Distribution Centers Opened By Austin-Travis County

Here are some options for helping out in the next few days and weeks ahead. Do you know of an upcoming volunteer opportunity not on the list? Email andy@KUT.org

City of Austin volunteer opportunities:

  • Volunteers are needed at a drive-thru food distribution at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex, 1156 Hargrave St., in East Austin. People can sign up here for shifts between 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Food will be distributed from 1 to 6 p.m.
  • At the Palmer Events Center in South Austin, trained social workers are needed to provide help for those still taking shelter at the center following the winter storm.
  • If you want to receive messages from the City of Austin when volunteer opportunities become available, sign up here.

The Austin Disaster Relief Network is asking potential volunteers to register so they can be notified when a specific assignment comes up. If you can't volunteer, ADRN is asking for donations to help those affected by the winter storm.

ADRN is also recruiting volunteers for cleanup efforts at Austin homes damaged by the winter storm. Click on the links below to sign up to join cleanup crews operating out of these Austin churches:

  • Greater Mt. Zion Church, Austin, 4301 Tannehill Ln (78721); Learn More
  • Austin Oaks Church, 4220 Monterey Oaks Blvd (78749); Learn More
  • One Chapel, 5508 W US Hwy 290 Service Rd (78735); Learn More
  • City Reach Church, 3502 Hatch Road, Cedar Park (78613); Learn More
  • Austin Stone, 11956 Dorsett Rd (78727), Learn More

Austin Mutual Aid, which has raised more than $800,000 to get people fed and sheltered, is still accepting donations. Donations of needed items, including tents, clothing, sleeping bags, diabetic testing strips and food, can be dropped off at Forever Eternal Moments (207 W. 4th St. downtown) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Read more about needed items on the group's Facebook page.

Caritas of Austin has multiple options for volunteering at home to help people experiencing homelessness, including making hygiene and snack kits, masks and frontline service PPE kits. The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) keeps an updated list of volunteer opportunities sorted by date.

Catholic Charities of Central Texas is asking for donated diapers for its upcoming distribution events. Diapers can be shipped directly to 1625 Rutherford Lane in Austin. The organization says if you're able to support its winter storm response, you can donate online here. And, to be added to the group's on-call volunteer list, email claire-bordelon@ccctx.org.

At the Central Texas Food Bank, you can help out distributing food at a mobile pantry site, prepare donations for distribution at the organization's warehouse, support the group's kitchen staff or volunteer in the food bank's garden. Read more about volunteer opportunities here. If you'd like to donate to the food bank, you can do that here. People in need of food can call 211 or visit this food bank map on where to find food now.

We Are Blood, Central Texas' blood bank, says it is experiencing a critical shortage of donations following the winter storm. You can click here to make an appointment to donate blood, which the organization says will be helpful even if your appointment is weeks away.

Again, if you know of a volunteer opportunity not on this list, especially one this week, email andy@KUT.org.

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