Longhorns Providing Relief in February’s Winter Storm
Posted March 3, 2021
On Feb. 15, a brutal winter storm impacted the lives of millions of Texans, and many still need support. Take a look at a few of the ways Longhorns across the country have answered the call to aid Texans in a crisis.
Matthew McConaughey, BS ’93, Life Member, Distinguished Alumnus, Minister of Culture, and Academy Award-winning actor, is co-hosting an upcoming virtual benefit with his wife, Camila, and the Just Keep Livin’ Foundation to assist in the long-term effort to rebuild Texas after the storm. More details about the benefit will be provided in the coming weeks.
Michael Huff, BS ’05, Texas Football alumnus and former NFL player, has sponsored thousands of meals from various restaurants across the state. He interacted with fans and Austin residents during and after the winter storm, even securing a job for a fan at Pinkerton’s BBQ. Huff provided food from Texas businesses such as Carpenter’s Cafe, Chick-fil-A, Juan in a Million, and Jubes Smokehouse.
Colt McCoy, BS ’09, served food, water, and supplies to thousands of students on campus during the storm. This was part of a larger effort at the University Co-op to help UT students affected by the storm and grid blackout.
Siete Family Foods, founded by Veronica Garza, BA ’03, president, and chief innovation officer of Siete Family Foods, and Miguel Garza, BBA ’09, JD ’12, the brand’s co-founder and CEO, helped to provide over 1,000 meals to the World Central Kitchen. Their efforts fed hundreds of Austin residents, including children at the Complex Care Clinic.
Tiffany Taylor Chen, BS ’01, and Leon Chen, BBA ’01, Life Members took a different approach to helping during the winter storm. Their business, Tiff’s Treats, is giving away 1,000 free cookie deliveries to those who helped provide relief to others during the storm. Using a nomination system, Tiff’s Treats randomly selected the heroes as a “thank you” for supporting their Texas community.
UT Community Efforts
UT’s Marine Science Institute rescued and rehabilitated nearly 1,000 sea turtles on the Gulf Coast before and during the storm. The Institute had the help of hundreds of volunteers in collecting the turtles and relocating them to warm, safe spaces until the water temperatures are more habitable.
UT professor and business owner, Kendra Scott, partnered with several Austin restaurants and offered hot meals at various locations. She partnered with businesses such as Veracruz Tacos, Burro Cheese Kitchen, Southside Flying Pizza and JP’s Pancake Company to provide food to Austinites.
Shmacked is a startup delivery service for the UT community, founded by students. The company stayed open throughout the entire storm, providing dozens of students with food, water bottles and other provisions. Shmacked prides itself on its “15-minute deliveries,” even with the unfavorable road conditions.
UT Austin students are creative in a crisis, including Sam Miles, who utilized her large Twitter following to raise $12,000 on Venmo and crowdsource resources.
The student body presidents of UT and Texas A&M have challenged Longhorn Nation and the Aggie Network to step up for a little friendly competition to see who can raise the most money for students in need.
Longhorn Caucus Efforts
With volunteer efforts ranging from Rep. Jim Murphy, BA ’82, passing out warm tacos at Ashford Elementary to Rep. Gina Hinojosa, BA ’96, distributing water to families in need without power, many Longhorn legislators went into their communities to show their support and lend a hand to their fellow Texans during the winter storm.
As the state recovers from one of the most devastating natural disasters in Texas history, Longhorns continue to provide solutions and relief to families.
If you know of an alumnus or story that should be added to this list, please let us know.