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How to help: Volunteer opportunities to assist folks impacted by winter storms in the Austin area

The community here is incredible. So many of you want to help people struggling after the storms, but may not know where to sign up. Here's a list.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: Volunteer opportunities are continually changing. Be sure to check if something is still available before showing up. 

Let's be real, last week was tough on a lot of people. While many have power turned back on and water restored, there are still people in our community that are struggling. 

Here are some ways you can volunteer to help: 

  • Austin Disaster Relief Network — ADRN is looking for volunteers to help with clean-up efforts, clearing homes and removing debris as a result of the recent winter storm. 
  • Cold Weather Shelters/Warming Centers — Some shelters are still open and the City is looking for volunteers to help staff them for various shifts. It is looking for both general volunteers and trained social workers. 
  • Winter Weather Response Team — In addition to helping staff shelters, the City is also looking for people to provide travel, help with clean up, among other things. 
  • Austin Voices for Education and Youth — Volunteers needed for emergency food and water distributions.
  • Central Texas Food Bank — Various volunteer opportunities: Warehouse, mobile food pantry, kitchen, garden.
  • Amplified Sound Coalition and Texas Music Workforce Coalition — Volunteers are needed to help pick up and distribute water, hot meals, non-perishable goods and other supplies. 
  • Ending Community Homelessness Coalition — ECHO is looking for volunteers who have water or can access it to deliver bottled water or jugs filled at breweries or other potable sources to low-income households and complexes in need.
  • Austin Latino Coalition — Austin Latino Coalition is looking for volunteers to help distribute water, food, and bags full of PPE, hygiene products, etc. at various distributions. Check its social media (linked) for updates on distributions. 
  • Workers Defense Project — Workers Defense Project is looking for volunteers to help with food and water distributions.
  • Del Valle Community Coalition — Del Valle Community Coalition will be hosting food and water drives over the next few weeks and needs volunteers. 
  • Homes Not Handcuffs — It needs volunteers at local hotels where people who were displaced because of the storms are staying. 

FEMA also suggests these options for helping those affected by the winter storm: 

  • Cash is the most efficient method of donating
    • Financial contributions to recognized disaster relief organizations are the fastest, most flexible and most effective method of donating. Organizations on the ground know what items and quantities are needed, often buy in bulk with discounts and, if possible, purchase through businesses local to the disaster, which supports economic recovery.
    • Cash donations rather than unsolicited donated goods avoid the complicated, costly and time-consuming process of collecting, sorting, packing, transporting, and distributing the goods.
  • Volunteer with a recognized organization 
    • There are many voluntary organizations with considerable experience in disaster relief in areas such as needs assessment, clean-up, mass feeding, mass sheltering, first aid, crisis counseling, home repair and many other areas.
    • To find a list of trusted organizations that can put your generous contributions of money, donations and time to the best possible use, visit National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
    • The severe cold, snow and ice canceled blood drives across the nation. Officials are encouraging eligible individuals to give blood to help restock the shelves — especially those with type O blood. To find out more about donating blood, visit https://www.redcrossblood.org/.

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