Organizers In NYC’s Early COVID Epicenter Help “Fill In The Gaps” For Texans After Dangerous Winter Storm


In one of many hard-hit communities from the pandemic, mutual help teams in Queens have been elevating cash and offering help for different comparable organizations almost 1,800 miles away in Texas, now recovering from a harmful snowstorm. The native teams in Queens, identified for establishing group fridges and personally delivering meals across the borough, took to Instagram to help their counterparts.

“They’ve been coping with quite a lot of the identical issues now we have, when it comes to the failure of presidency and the way now we have typically have been requested to fill within the gaps […] and that’s actually not simple,” mentioned Andrea Atehortua, a 32-year-old organizer in Queens who has been working with mutual help teams since final April.

With a blue graphic of Texas and a hashtag ‘QNSLovesTexas,’ teams like Sunnyside and Woodside Mutual Support, Astoria Fridge, Queens Liberation Undertaking, and others have raised $6,045 in a day to ship to different mutual help organizations in Texas who’re making an attempt to offer individuals with ingesting water, non permanent shelter, and scorching meals.

For the previous week, thousands and thousands of individuals all through Texas have been left with out electrical energy and drinkable water after a winter storm knocked out a susceptible state energy grid following freezing temperatures. As of Thursday, whereas a lot of the ability had been restored, 7 million Texans remained beneath boil water notices. Dozens of individuals have been killed in connection to the ability outage. President Joe Biden has now declared a state of emergency for Texas.

For organizers in Queens, who see themselves as primarily liable for their very own borough, it has been tough to show a blind eye to a scenario that reminds them of when hospitals have been overflooded, PPE was scarce, and 1000’s have been dying. Final spring, the neighborhood of Elmhurst was thought-about an unique epicenter of the outbreak, which has to date killed 8,602 individuals in Queens—7,308 confirmed deaths and the opposite 1,294 suspected to be brought on by COVID. A number of organizers, like Atehortua, see Texas as an extension of their group in Queens.

“Many people have household in Texas. I’ve cousins in Houston. Different individuals have household in Austin and Dallas,” Atehortua mentioned. “So it often-times looks like we’re having to leap in and supply help each time a disaster comes up.”

That help contains distributing the $6,045 equally amongst six teams in Texas. They embrace Feed The Folks Dallas Mutual Support, which shall be delivering provides to greater than 300 households in want on Saturday; Austin Mutual Support, which is elevating cash to place individuals up in motels; Funky City Fridge in Fort Price, which is making an attempt to buy water filters and ship meals for these unable to prepare dinner; and Black Futures Collective in San Antonio, which is aiming their help for people closest to hurt which incorporates, “Black ladies, Black femmes, Black trans people.” Houseless Organizing Coalition in Houston and North Texas Rural Resilience are additionally receiving help. A few of the mutual help teams Queens organizers initially reached out to requested them to ship funds to different teams that had better capability to just accept and redirect donations rapidly.

Neighborhood fridge teams in Queens shall be taking donations till Saturday. Different organizations stopped fundraising after reaching the 24-hour purpose, however many are nonetheless calling on volunteers to offer logistical help for Texas teams, like answering calls and serving to to arrange distributions.

Consultant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents elements of the Bronx and Queens, has additionally pitched in. On Thursday, the Democratic legislator was capable of acquire more than $2 million in donations for meals banks and greater aid organizations in Texas.

Ocasio-Cortez flew to Texas on Friday and is handing out provides with Consultant Sylvia Garcia, of jap Houston, on the Houston Meals Financial institution. Many individuals took to Twitter to reward the New York Congresswoman for doing greater than Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The congressmember is being closely criticized after leaving his state in a disaster for a visit to Cancún, Mexico.

“I feel what we’re seeing in Texas is an indication of what’s to come back, notably with the local weather disaster, and so, what we discovered from this example is that we actually must depend on one another and our communities when our establishments fail us,” mentioned Atehortua.