When the historic spring 2021 snowstorm hit Texas, many residents and businesses were unprepared for the cold temperatures and the storm’s intensity. The disaster caused widespread damage due to downed power lines, auto collisions, broken pipes, and other problems that made it one of the costliest disasters in Texas history. Texans required a number of services to help them through the crisis, especially considering the dangerous mix of no electricity and record cold temperatures. Helping residents through the crisis was BCFS Health and Human Services, a nonprofit leader in emergency response management, mental health services, vocational training, and an array of other capabilities.
The organization is headquartered in Texas, so the disaster’s impacts were felt not just with residents, but also its own staff members. Its work extended throughout Texas due to the widespread destruction of the storm. San Antonio residents received aid through a warming center BCFS Health and Human Services established. This center offered residents without power a safe and warm place to ride out the storm. It was furnished with cots, blankets, emergency generators, and medical staff to help any ill patients. The organization also worked with local San Antonio agencies to deliver water to the San Antonio Food Bank and other groups in need.
As some of their own facilities experienced power outages during the storm, BCFS Health and Human Services moved in to provide emergency power. As part of the organization’s overall focus on preparedness, each center had enough food and water on hand, but it needed power to ensure the safety of its residents. Many of the organization’s staff put in extra hours to manage the snowstorm’s multiple effects.
BCFS Health and Human Services aided Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT), a nonprofit center for adults with development and intellectual disabilities. BVT lost power during the storm, and BCFS Health and Human Services moved quickly to transfer residents to an on-campus chapel building where emergency power, cots, and blankets were all provided. This move helped residents stay warm and allowed them to get through the disaster and back to normal operations quickly.
The organization also provided aid to its educational services division in the rural southern counties of the state. It partners with multiple schools in this region, and many of the school administrators were caught off guard by the severity and duration of the storm. Many schools flooded due to burst pipes and snow melt, and other storm-related issues. BCFS Health and Human Services provided generator services, coordinated repairs, and performed other steps to reduce the time these schools were out of commission.