PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — With hundreds of thousands of Texans still struggling in the cold without power after a winter storm struck the region days ago, organizations based in Hampton Roads are stepping up to help out.
On Friday, Virginia Beach-based Operation Blessing delivered thousands of bottles of water and other beverages, 1,400 bottles of hand sanitizer and nearly 500 blankets to the City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management and the Hi-Way Tabernacle Church in Cleveland, Texas.
Many cities are under boil water notices, and more water is on the way to Houston, Beaumont and Cleveland.
“We have three loads scheduled for tomorrow,” said Anthony Lloyd, senior director of U.S. disaster relief for Operation Blessing. “Some of our attempts to drive and drop had to be halted and delayed because of the ice and the road closures.”
The organization also has a warehouse facility in Grand Prarie, Texas, serving as a staging point for millions of pounds of donated food and other aid to go to those in need.
“If another need arises, we’re certainly going to be ready to go,” Lloyd said.
You can donate money and other supplies to help the effort at www.ob.org. Their number is 1-800-730-2537 if you’d like to donate supplies locally. You can deliver supplies to Operation Blessing’s location at 977 Centerville Turnpike in Virginia Beach.
Meanwhile, locally-based disaster relief organization Mercy Chefs will start serving meals Friday in Dallas and Fort Worth. It’s also helping to provide clean drinking water to the state, after Texas issued a boil water advisory. Many people still didn’t have water because they didn’t have electricity.
“We’ll be purifying over 400 gallons of water every hour,” said Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs founder. “We’re working to do 5,000 meals for lunch and 5,000 meals for dinner. We’ll continue to expand that capacity as we get additional mobile kitchens and team members on site.”
Mercy Chefs started by serving lunch on Friday from a large mobile kitchen based at Gateway Church North Fort Worth Campus, located at 4209 Basswood Boulevard.
Dallas communities will also receive meals from the Cornerstone Kitchen, located at 2815 S. Ervay St., and 3015 at Trinity Groves, located at 3015 Gulden Lane, in the coming days.
LeBlanc said this is the non-profit’s first-ever disaster response due to winter weather.
“The situation is so much worse than even we expected,” he said. “We have never in 15 years had this many requests for assistance come in in such a short period of time.”
Smithfield Foods also announced Friday that it was sending two truckloads of protein to Texas food banks, which will feed nearly 150,000 people. You can donate to support Feeding America here.
Looking for more options to help local organizations on the ground in Texas? The Texas Tribune has created a guide for donations and other information to help people in the storm.