The picturesque snowfalls in Texas in the spring of 2021 quickly turned from lovely to deadly. The snow was accompanied by exceptionally low temperatures for an extended period, which placed strain on the Texas power grid and millions of residents. The snowstorm brought uncertainty as people battled a loss of power, reduced grocery store supplies, and lack of fresh water. The event brought together residents who began sharing meals with new neighbors, staying at a stranger’s house to find warmth, or business owners opening their stores for the public’s health. A strategic partner helping Texans during the snowstorms was BCFS Health and Human Services, a nonprofit headquartered in Texas that offers an array of disaster response services throughout the country. The organization offered a variety of services throughout the state to help resilient Texans stay safe and get back on their feet as soon as possible.
The organization’s work in San Antonio began with developing a warming center at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. It provided blankets, cots, and emergency power generation for the center’s 500-person capacity. It also addressed the fresh water crisis in the city by bringing in 15 semi-trucks filled with water, with some given to the San Antonio Food Bank, and others provided to residents left homeless by a large apartment complex fire.
BCFS Health and Human Services’ staff members also continued to provide needed hospital care during this crisis, through transportation services that delivered staff to their jobs despite the icy and dangerous conditions.
Six of the organization’s residential services facilities lost power, water, or both, and were able to continually operate through on-site generators and the organization’s stores of food and water. Some of these facilities’ staff members were homebound due to the storm, and BCFS Health and Human Services provided food and other aid to their doors. Staff also worked long hours including overnight shifts and tasks outside their normal job descriptions to look after the youth living at the residential care facilities.
The organization provided impactful aid to Breckenridge Village of Tyler, a nonprofit that provides residential care to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in East Texas. This facility lost power during one of the storms, and residents were evacuated to the nearby Robert M. Rogers Chapel. BCFS Health and Human Services provided generators, cots, blankets, and other necessary items to ensure the residents were not exposed to dangerous cold.