How to help people in Texas suffering from devastating winter storms that caused power and water outages

  • A rare winter storm has left hundreds of thousands of Texans without power, heat, and water.
  • Deaths are mounting across the state as freezing temperatures and food and water shortages persist.
  • Here is a list of organisations and nonprofits accepting donations to help those in need.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following one of the worst winter storms in the state in years, millions of Texans were left without power and heat after frigid temperatures stalled natural gas production that caused mass power outages across the region this week.

Though power has been restored for most, more than 400,000 households across the state were still experiencing outages Thursday afternoon, according to Meanwhile, the state now faces a burgeoning water crisis with numerous reports of burst pipes and a growing list of advisories to boil water in major cities due to frozen pipes and damaged infrastructure.

Hospitals throughout the state are struggling with crowded rooms and no water, and there are increasing reports of empty grocery store shelves as the crisis begins to disrupt supply chains.

President Joe Biden has declared a federal state of emergency, but additional help is urgently needed, especially as a second winter storm is projected to batter the region and other parts of the US through Friday.

Insider has compiled a list of charities, food banks, and organisations across Texas that are accepting donations and working to help those impacted by the storm.

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (L) and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales (2nd L) take a tour of the George R. Brown Centre which is being used as a warming shelter on February 17, 2021 in Houston, Texas Photo by THOMAS SHEA/AFP via Getty Images

National Organisations:

  • The American Red Cross has more than 150 shelters and warming centres open across the region. The organisation is asking for both monetary and blood donations, especially from those with Type O blood.
  • The Salvation Army is providing shelter, food, and other necessary items to Texans impacted by the storm. Donations can be made through the organisation’s website.
  • Crowdsource Rescue is a disaster-relief organisation working to assist senior citizens impacted by the freezing temperatures. The organisation needs volunteers to help transport vulnerable populations to safe places and to deliver food, water, and other supplies to those in need.
  • If you live in the area and are safe, consider opening up your home to those in need through AirBnB’s “Open Homes” program. Those who have power and water can provide temporary shelter for people in need of emergency housing. The company is also accepting donations for housing nonprofits.

Donated water is distributed to residents, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Mutual Aid Funds:

Mutual aid funds across Texas, including Feed the People Dallas,Austin Mutual Aid, and Mutual Aid Houston, are accepting donations on their websites or through Venmo to provide shelter and food for people who need it. Mutual aid funds are one of the fastest ways for local communities to provide direct help to people in an emergency.

  • @ feedthepeopledallas (Dallas)
  • @ mutualaidhou (Houston)
  • @ austinmutualaidhotels (Austin)
  • @ pmgmutualaid (San Antonio)
  • @ feed956 (Laredo)
  • @ ntxmutualaid (North Texas)
  • @ CC-DSA (Corpus Cristi)
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People shop depleted produce aisles in Central Market after a snow storm on February 18, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Food Banks

Feeding America has a database of food banks across Texas and nationwide, searchable by zip code and is accepting both monthly and one-time donations. The organisation also helps place volunteers at local food banks to help stock shelves, assist at drive-thru pantries, and deliver meals during COVID-19.

Animal Shelters

  • Austin Pets Alive needs monetary donations and supplies, including water, diesel fuel, gloves and hand warmers, and flashlights.
  • The SPCA of Texas is also accepting donations to help protect the state’s furry friends impacted by the storm.
  • Operation Kindness is a North Texas organisation providing assistance to animals in need of medical care, companionship, and a home.
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Pedestrians walk on along a snow-covered street on February 15, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Local Organisations


  • The Austin Area Urban League launched the #LoveThyNeighborTx campaign to provide shelter, food, water, and clothing to those struggling in Austin. Donations can be made on the organisation’s website.
  • The nonprofit organisation Front Steps in Austin is running a winter blanket drive, and those who wish to donate a warm blanket can drop it off at the organisation’s downtown location or order the blanket online and have it shipped to the shelter.
  • The Austin-American Statesman compiled a comprehensive list of restaurants and businesses in the city that are providing free meals this week. Donations can be made at Good Work Austin’s Community Kitchen.


San Antonio


  • Brooke Parkinson, director of Volunteer Houston, told the Houston Chronicle that is a great place to start for those searching for places to donate time, money, or goods to help people in the city.

Many local news outlets in the state have also compiled their own comprehensive lists of open warming centres, shelters, and winter storm tips for those in need.