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How to Help Feed People in Need During Austin’s Winter Weather Crisis

Where to donate money, food, and supplies to help the vulnerable in the city

Winter Storm Uri Brings Ice And Snow Across Widespread Parts Of The Nation
Snow at the Capitol
Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

The massive Texas winter weather crisis is technically over, but the aftermath will be felt by Austin for a while. At times, many people ad been without power, heat, clean water, nor much food access during below-freezing temperatures, causing grocery stores and restaurants to either close or work with limited products since the supply chain is disrupted.

This ongoing weather crisis especially impacts Austin’s unhoused population, who are in need of warm shelters, food, and supplies. The city opened several warming centers, as did some area churches and local cafes and breweries. Filling in the gaps are mutual aid groups, grassroots organizations, and businesses that are doing everything they can to help the especially vulnerable at this time, providing food and supplies and finding emergency housing.

To help these groups in their efforts, many are collecting donations and supplies, along with other specific asks, listed below. There’s also a comprehensive Texas-wide list of organizing efforts and ways to help too, efforts in Houston, Dallas, and a collection of rural resources. For a more general directory on how to help people in need in the city, check out Eater’s How to Help guide. People who need help with food are encouraged to call 211.

See an organization stepping up during the storm? Let Eater Austin know through austin@eater.com.

Food-Focused Organizations/Funds/Initiatives

Good Work Austin’s Community Kitchen — The small business advocacy group — including several restaurants such as L’Oca d’Oro, Reunion 19, Salt & Time, and Baby Greens, among others — is accepting monetary donations for its meal program feeding those in need. They’ve fed and are feeding places and people including the warming center Palmer Event Center, St. David’s Hospital employees, several food pantries, and hotel lodgings for people in need. The group is also looking for other restaurants that are up for preparing meals as well.

Free Lunch: The initiative has been feeding the Camp Esperanza encampment during the storm. To help their efforts, they’re accepting monetary contributions. It’s also looking for volunteers.

Central Texas Food Bank: The food bank is doing a mass distribution this weekend and is asking for donations to assist. There are also volunteer opportunities.

Austin Winter Storm Relief: Austin hospitality groups A Taste of Koko, 365 Things Austin, and MYLK Collective are raising money to buy local restaurant meals intended for people without power.

Lee Initiative: The nonprofit is working with chef Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie and alongside World Central Kitchen and Good Work Austin to serve people at the warming shelters on Friday and Saturday. Donations will help these efforts.

Prep to Your Door: The vegan meal delivery service is asking for donations to aid its efforts to deliver food to people in need in Austin and Houston. The company is also accepting requests for food.

Food and Water Donations and Volunteer Opps

ATX Free Fridge: The community fridge program with three locations is still accepting food donations as well as other cold-weather supplies.

City of Austin: Council Member Greg Casar is looking for donations for specific sites often.

Mutual Aid & the Like

Austin Mutual Aid: The mutual aid group is collecting monetary donations to help the city’s unhoused population, from booking hotel rooms to providing food and supplies, through GoFundMe and Venmo (both @austinmutualaidhotels and @austinmutualaid). The group has also set up a drop-off center at Forever Eternal Moments at 207 West Fourth Street, including hot meals, produce, bread, milk, eggs, and more.

Community Resilience Trust: The organization is raising an emergency relief fund to help aid the efforts of several like-groups (Mobile Loaves & Fishes to Austin Mutual AId) aimed at helping the unhoused population during the storm. The funds will help pay for food, hotel vouchers, and supplies.

Recycled Love Austin: The East Austin group is accepting Venmo donations (@recycledloveaustin) to help continue its efforts to feed the unhoused community and people without power or money in the neighborhood. And there’s an Amazon wish list for cold-weather and COVID-related supplies.

400 and 1: The Black organization is asking for donations of supplies, including prepared hot meals, as well as monetary donations.

Diversity Awareness and Wellness in Action: The organization is collecting monetary donations through Venmo (@dawaheals) for its emergency aid efforts helping to pay for emergency shelter, food, and transportation.

Do Good ATX: The community group is accepting monetary donations through Cash App ($dogoodatx) and Venmo (@dogoodatx) to aid its efforts in helping families and the elderly, including supply drives.

Austin Community Advancement Brigade Fund: The mutual aid group is seeking supply donations, including meals, as well as monetary donations to help its efforts to keep the unhoused community safe.

Ending Community Homelessness Coalition: The nonprofit is looking for people who are able to help pack and distribute food and water to the Tempo at Riverside apartment complex in East Riverside. Sign up via Google Form.

Funds

Austin Disaster Relief Network: The nonprofit is accepting monetary donations to help buy gift cards, pay for emergency housing and transportation, and supplies for people impacted by weather-related incidents.

Austin Area Urban League: The local affiliate of the civil rights organization is accepting monetary donations to help provide emergency shelter, food, clothing, and other supplies for the unhoused population.

The Austin EMS Relief Fund: The Austin EMS Association is collecting monetary donations for its fund to help feed first responders/medics during the storm.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez : The New York Congressperson launched her own donation fund, helping out a big number of Texas nonprofits including the Central Texas Food Bank, and Ending Community Homelessness Coalition. She’s already raised over $2 million.

Farm Funds

Sustainable Food Center: The Austin nonprofit has set up a fund to help farmers and ranchers who have experienced massive losses during the storm.

Texas Farmers Market: The farmers market nonprofit’s Ag Producer Support Fund aims at supporting farmers during crises, which includes the winter storm.

Central Texas Young Farmers: The regional chapter of the national coalition is raising money to help farmers recover from the winter storm.

Expansive/Etc.

Ending Community Homelessness Coalition: The nonprofit collected several ways of helping other organizations during the winter storm, including places collecting coats and blankets, and Amazon wish lists for creating care/hygiene/snack kits.

Austin Justice Coalition: The racial justice group turned its space at Servan Church into a warming shelter for people, which means the group is in need of supplies. Specifically, they’re asking for warm food, coffee, tea, snacks, PPE, and menstrual supplies for drop-offs.

Pets

Austin Pets Alive: While this is for animals, it’s still important: the nonprofit is collecting supplies for the pets, including food and plastic spoons, via email at cold@austinpetsalive.org. It’s also accepting monetary donations to help keep the animals warm and safe. There’s also a Facebook group for people to request specific pet items.

Update, Monday, February 21, 3:20 p.m.: This article, originally published on Wednesday, February 17, has been updated to include further efforts.

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