Aid is coming from all directions, but so many are still in need as freezing temperatures continue.
For the better part of a week the people of Texas have been grappling with a historic storm. With countless water mains broken and a reported 300,000 still without power, there is no shortage of need. Now, Catholic Charities is mobilizing in Texas, bringing aid during the ongoing severe weather emergency.
Local parishes and nonprofits alike are being stretched to their limits. Crux reports that icy roads have cut off supply lines, leaving many food pantries bare. Water is becoming equally scarce as many residents are contending with frozen pipes and low pressure. To help hydrate their communities, several parishes have started melting snow on their soup kitchen stoves.
Because of these shortages, Brownsville Bishop Daniel Flores granted his diocese a dispensation from abstinence of meat on the first Friday of Lent. In a comment, Bishop Flores said:
“Many families in the Diocese will have no other option except to eat what they have,” Flores said. “The law does not intend to add hardship to what is already a situation of great hardship for many. Those who can observe the discipline may, of course, do so. I suggest prayers for intentions of those suffering at this time.”
To the border and beyond
Catholic News Agency reported on several specific efforts that have shone through the crisis. In San Antonio, there are at least six churches that are providing emergency shelter. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is providing those in need with winter kits of warm clothes and food. Further south, in the Diocese of Brownsville, the local Catholic Charities agency is doing what they can for migrants who were caught in the storm near the border.
Across the border in Matamoros, Mexico, Catholic Charities has sent trucks loaded with supplies. Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of its Humanitarian Respite Center, told Crux:
“People at the camp are still struggling,” Pimentel said. “We are continuously sending items like a blanket and sleeping bags but that’s not enough. We requested a lot of those hot water bags that they can put in their sleeping bag, or where they sleep to keep themselves warm and so we’ve received a lot of those.” She added, “[..] They need help because conditions are continuing to be very severe.”