As widespread power outages and issues with the water supply devastate Texas in the wake of record-low temperatures and winter weather, the Longmont Community Foundation is hoping to rally locals to help.
Longmonters this week have reached out to Foundation Executive Director Eric Hozempa seeking ways to help people who have been without electricity and drinking water.
Texas since Feb. 13 has seen a record streak of below freezing temperatures, impacting more than 1,225 water supply systems and forcing nearly half of the state’s population to boil water to drink, according to CNN.
The winter storms left many without power for days, around 180,000 people remained without power as of Friday, according to PowerOutage.us.
While temperatures are expected to rise this weekend, more than 14 million people across Texas are still desperate to get water. The Washington Post reported people standing in lines outside stores and breweries with empty containers looking for drinking water.
The devastating weather conditions have “killed at least 47 people since Sunday,” according to The Washington Post.
When other places are in times of crisis, Longmonters look to help, Hozempa said, recalling the local flood of 2013 and how “many donations came from Texas and California during our flooding cleanup and recovery.”
“We relied on the kindness of those in other states to help us navigate through the flood of 2013 … It’s the right thing to do (to help Texans now),” he said.
Organizations across Colorado have mobilized and implemented emergency funds to help Texans without food, power and basic essentials, the Longmont Community Foundation stated in a newsletter emailed Friday.
Water, food and emergency shelter are among the most needed basics in Texas right now, but since those items can’t just be dropped in the mail, Hozempa suggests donating money to a nonprofit organization set up to help.
“In times of crisis it's best to provide money to nonprofits so they can direct those dollars to helping where it's best needed. Money allows them to purchase items, provide direct support and help immediately,” he said via email Friday.
For those looking for a safe organization to donate to, the Longmont Community Foundation suggests starting with the following organizations: Dallas Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, San Angelo Area Foundation, Austin Area Urban League, Houston Food Bank, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Tarrant Food Bank. The state of Texas also has a list of other ways to donate.
Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of crisis situations so it is important for donors to be aware of and research the organizations to which they are donating, Hozempa said.“We always recommend that people look to support charities that are very transparent about their operations. You can search on Guidestar or Charity Navigator for information on charities. On a practical level, make sure when making a donation online that the website is secure (little padlock on the website address). If a donor has questions, they should reach out to the charity and ask them questions. The charity should be open and willing to help answer any questions from potential donors,” Hozempa said in his email.