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

Austin is still in the midst of a massive Texas winter storm. Nearly 180,000 people who have been without power don’t have heat nor much food access during these 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 the 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. Filling in the gaps are mutual aid groups, grassroots organizations, and businesses 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. 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.

Austin Mutual Aid: The mutual aid group is collecting monetary donations to help book hotel rooms for the city’s unhoused population through GoFundMe and Venmo (both @austinmutualaidhotels and @austinmutualaid). The group has also set up a drop-off/pick-up center at 310 Colorado Street for food donations at Cuatro Gato/Arepa Dealers and toiletries at Forever Eternal Moments.

Good Work Austin’s Community Kitchen — The small business advocacy group — including several restaurants such as LOca 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

Deep Eddy Vodka: The Dripping Springs distillery has been upfront buying large quantities of meals at various restaurants across the city for free for people who need it. The distillery is looking for additional restaurant partners. Likewise, it’s also asking for individuals who need supplies and food but aren’t able to travel safely to reach out for personal requests and help.

Austin Pets Alive: The nonprofit’s shelter lost power this week and is currently running on generators. On top of that, the building lost water two days ago. It’s accepting monetary donations to help keep the animals warm and safe. It’s also collecting bottled water for the staff, as well as cat food for people in the community, and unleaded gas for the generators via email at cold@austinpetsalive.org. There’s also a Facebook group for people to request specific pet items.

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