The historic spring snowstorms that impacted Texas and neighboring states in the spring of 2021 started out as picturesque events for areas that do not see much annual snowfall. However, the novelty of the storms quickly turned to frustration and danger as the icy cold temperatures disrupted the Texas power grid. Millions of people lost power during and after the storms. Residents had difficulty finding grocery store items, buying gas, and heating their homes to a sufficient level to ensure their survival. Multiple relief organizations help Texans overcome the storm’s challenges, including BCFS Health and Human Services. This nonprofit organization is based in Texas and provides emergency management and response, vocational training, and educational and mental health services for children and families.
BCFS Health and Human Services’ work in Texas stretched throughout the state, reflecting the scale of the storm’s impact. In San Antonio, the organization developed a warming center at a nearby convention center. This facility provided more than 500 people a night a warm place to sleep and gain access to medical care. It was powered by BCFS Health and Human Services’ generators and offered residents blankets and other essential gear to keep them warm and comforted. The organization also addressed the water shortages in San Antonio by delivering 300 pallets of bottled water for a local food bank and other area organizations.
BCFS Health and Human Services operates several residential facilities in the state. Six of these facilities lost either power or water, or both, but due to their preparedness and BCFS Health and Human Services’ capabilities, they were all able to function without serious interruption due to on-site generators and stored food and water. Staff members were also impacted by the storm, so the organization provided food to some homebound staff who were unable to come to work. Other staff members put in extra hours at these facilities, helping setup cots and other temporary arrangements to ensure everyone’s needs were met.
Also receiving aid during the storm was Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT), a nonprofit that provides residential care to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This organization lost power and its administrators determined residents would need to evacuate in order to maintain their safety. They worked with BCFS Health and Human Services to set up a temporary shelter facility at a chapel, with power generators, and enough cots and blankets to meet the needs of this especially vulnerable population.