Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the Episcopal dioceses of Dallas, Texas and West Texas as they provide emergency relief to individuals and families impacted by the unprecedented ice storm, low temperatures and power outages last week.
Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program partners with local churches and other organizations to provide emergency relief and long-term support as vulnerable communities respond to and rebuild from disasters such as hurricanes, winter storms and wildfires. Most disasters have three phases: Rescue, Relief and Recovery.
“We are early on in the life-cycle of this disaster,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director, US Disaster Program, Episcopal Relief & Development. “Our partners in Texas leveraged their experience in responding to hurricanes and COVID-19 to immediately provide aid in their communities. They are skilled at figuring out how to quickly use the churches’ gifts to meet community needs, and I continue to be inspired by their creativity and tenacity under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.”
The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, is targeting relief efforts to reach refugee and underserved communities with food, bottled water and gift cards for utility bills. Many in these communities are day laborers who, in addition to experiencing damage to their homes, lost income due to the lack of work and power outages. To address immediate needs during the power outages, the diocese opened a warming center and shelter at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas. Now that temperatures have warmed, the Cathedral’s food pantry remains open. All relief efforts are being carried out while following strict protocols to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.
Similarly, The Episcopal Diocese of Texas, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, initially opened emergency shelters and warming centers and distributed food, gasoline and generators to address immediate needs in under-resourced communities in the greater Houston, Waco and Austin areas. In the Austin area, volunteers and staff are continuing to distribute meals for individuals and families in need. Congregations in the greater Houston area have begun assisting with plumbing repairs, while continuing to provide food, clothing and other personal goods to help replace what was damaged.
The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas mobilized its hurricane response team to begin to identify opportunities to provide support to people living in the 19 counties in southern Texas that have been declared disaster areas. In partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, the diocese will work through its network of churches and food banks to deliver food, water, direct financial assistance, household and other supplies.
“As this disaster evolves, our partners will continue to identify innovative ways to meet needs that are not being met by other organizations,” continued Mears.
Please pray for all those impacted by the winter storms and power outages. Donations to the US Disaster Response Fund will enable Episcopal Relief & Development to continue to respond to the winter storms and other disasters. Learn more about Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program.