In February of 2021, Texas was hit with a winter storm that crippled the state’s primary electrical grid, creating dire situations for individuals and families across the entire state.
When the state was hit by the February arctic blast, about 26 million out of the 29 million people that live there were impacted by power outages and frozen water pipes for days, while others had little to no access to water or electricity for weeks. To make matters worse, thousands of those Texans were already reeling from the impact of Covid-19 job losses. Imagine barely being able to feed your family when Mother Nature swoops in and wipes out your electricity, effectively destroying what little food you have.
No Texan could have imagined the devastation of this event, but this disaster evoked the resilience of community building... and not just in Texas.
Through our partnership with 12 Tomatoes, Greater Good Charities mobilized quickly and was able to provide life-saving food and water assistance to communities hit the hardest by this historic freeze. Within the first week alone, 12 Tomatoes raised over $90,000 for Greater Good Charities’ disaster relief efforts in Texas (check out their amazing campaign here), all of which was used to buy food and water items for the Texas food pantries most in need.
The Rio Grande Valley Food Bank, a member of our Feeding America network, was one such food pantry. It serves Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy counties, located along the border in the southernmost tip of Texas. Greater Good directed just over half of the funds raised by 12 Tomatoes to the RGV Food Bank. The food bank assisted 31,280 people and counting with donors’ funds through the following:
- Emergency food relief
- Emergency supplies
- Fuel for immediate food and water distribution
- Mass drive-through emergency pantries
Over 300,000 pounds of life-saving emergency food assistance was provided to Texas residents!
Cars lined up to receive food assistance from RGV’s drive-through emergency pantry
Photo © Rio Grande Valley Food Bank
The Rio Grande Valley Food Bank serves Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy counties, located along the border in the southernmost tip of Texas. This area has an overall poverty rate of 33%, and a staggering unemployment rate at nearly 17% due to Covid-19.
Daniel F. of San Juan Texas is very familiar with this scenario. Daniel attended the first mass Drive Thru Emergency Pantry (DTEP) at the Rio Grande Valley Food Bank that was funded by Greater Good Charities and 12 Tomatoes just to be able to make ends meet for his family of five. Daniel’s family experienced complete and total loss of food due to spoilage after being without power for three days. He is a Welder and has been without work recently due to Covid-19. Impacted by job loss and then the Winter Storm, he said that although his family has fallen on tough times, he knows that things will get better. “This could happen to anyone, but I am thankful for this good help that the food bank and community is providing for us to help us get by and back on our feet.”
According to Omar Rodriguez with the RGV Food Bank, “Daniel’s story is similar to 40% of clients we’ve been serving in the last year who have never had to seek food assistance before!”
Daniel F. of San Juan collects food for his family at RVG’s Drive Thru Emergency Pantry
Photo © Rio Grande Valley Food Bank
Another member of that 40% is Mr. Gutierrez, who attended a pop-up mobile food distribution to get food for his family of four. He was injured and has been unable to work for the past two months. He is grateful to be able to get fresh produce and food to feed his family after the recent winter storm. “We were without power for five days and we lost everything in the fridge. We were cold, our pipes burst so then we were without water too. It’s been a hard time for all of us. As a parent, you just want to make sure that your kids are okay and that they are taken care of. Getting food here today will be a blessing on my house and I’m thankful for that.”
Mr. Gutierrez collects food for his family at RVG’s Drive Thru Emergency Pantry
Photo © RosieMartinez, Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley
It is with a huge thank you to 12 Tomatoes and the generosity of people like you that we will continue to assist communities that are struggling from food insecurity. Whether it's a direct result of a natural disaster like the Texas freeze, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, or simply being among 7.8 million people in the United States that currently live below the poverty line, we are grateful to have you all as a part of our community.
We look forward to continuing our partnership with 12 Tomatoes, including our current collaborative campaign Honor Our Veterans: A Real Meal For A Real Sacrifice.
When it comes to natural or human-made disasters, Greater Good Charities provides on-the-ground assistance and funds to partners to maximize impact and relief for the affected people and pets.
Your donation Amplify's the Good and allows us to help where and when it matters most.