The spring of 2021 brought a rare snowstorm to Texas and other neighboring states. The event unfortunately brought fear and confusion, as residents struggled with limited grocery store stocks, intermittent electricity, and various other issues. Texans needed a variety of services to help them through this disaster. We stepped in to help. Our organization, BCFS Health and Human Services, is a leader in emergency management and response, vocational training for adults, mental health services for children and families, and various other services. We’re headquartered in Texas, and our staff and local service population were hard hit by the record storm which strained power grids, burst water pipes, and disrupted daily life.
Our work extended throughout the state. In San Antonio, our staff members offered blankets, emergency medical services, and blankets at a warming center that could support upwards of 500 people. We also partnered with local agencies to deliver 300 pallets of water to the San Antonio Food Bank and other locations.
Our various residential facilities in the areas were able to function due to our on-site generators and pre-planning which meant we had sufficient water and food on hand to manage through the disaster. Many of our staff including our expert case workers put in extra hours during this period to provide uninterrupted care to the youth residents under their supervision.
BCFS Health and Human Services helped Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT), a nonprofit that provides residential care to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As the storm progressed, this facility lost power and its managers realized they needed to evacuate due to unhealthy falling temperatures. We stepped in to provide a generator and to outfit the site’s chapel as an emergency response center were staff and residents could stay warm until the storm passed, and temperatures rose.
In rural southern counties, we helped manage icy road conditions to help our educational service division which helps young children in need. The storm’s severity and longevity surprised many of the school districts. Some schools were flooded during and after the storm, many had burst pipes, and were unable to provide services for days due to a lack of power and running water. We helped coordinate responses to all these issues, to ensure interruptions in care and learning were short-lived and everyone involved had their basic necessities.