Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Bush Hager and More Stars Speak Out Amid Texas Winter Storm Power Outages
By Desiree Murphy
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Celebrities are sending their love to Texas, where thousands of residents and businesses are still without power amid a brutal winter storm that has brought frigid weather to the South.
CBS News reports that the state's failure to weather-proof many power-generating facilities exacerbated the crisis and led to millions of homes and businesses losing electricity. According to the outlet, boil water advisories are in place for 12 million people, as the lack of power has crippled water plants and also resulted in burst pipes in many homes. Exposure to the bitter cold temperatures and lack of power has also led to an increase in 911 calls and hospitalizations. At least 20 people have died in Texas as a result of the storm.
Matthew McConaughey, who hails from Uvalde, Texas, was one of the first to share his support, tweeting, "I am sending prayers of resilience and the humanity of the helping hand out to all Texans that are struggling with the freeze."
"I have reached out to help @mealsonwheels, @AAULTX, @BGCAustin," the actor added. " For more information on resources, how you can help or to donate tap the links above."
I am sending prayers of resilience and the humanity of the helping hand out to all Texans that are struggling with the freeze.
James Van Der Beek, who moved to the state last year with his family, took to Instagram Stories on Wednesday to let his fans know that he and his family were "now without water." The former Dawson's Creek star also urged his followers to donate to food banks and reach out to anyone they may know in Texas.
"I'm really just sending a lot of good vibes out to everybody out there who is without power, without water," he explained in a series of videos. "It's a very serious situation so if you know anybody in Texas and there's any way you can support, just reach out [and] ask how they're doing. Texas is not used to this and they're not really prepared for it."
"Local food banks are always a great donation," he continued. "They take and supply more than just food. And a phone call can go a long way."
On Thursday's Today, Texas native Jenna Bush Hager told co-host Hoda Kotb that the last couple of days have been "really, really difficult."
"I've gotten to speak to some family and friends that are down there," she shared. "I think people are easy to make jokes, like, 'Well, Texans, they can't deal with two inches of snow' or whatever. They're not prepared for weather like this. The houses, the pipes weren't built [for it]. And I know this sounds silly, but people don't have warm clothes like we do up here [in New York]."
"It's been 14-degree weather. It's getting warmer, it's on a warming trend, thank god, but it is really, really bad," she added. "There are so many ways we can help, and people are helping in enormous ways. And that is the beautiful thing. There's this hashtag #LoveThyNeighbor. Even by putting that hashtag on your Instagram, it raises money to get food to people who need it."
Meanwhile, Beyoncé is working to do good amid the crisis. Her foundation, BeyGOOD, and Adidas teamed up with Houston's Bread of Life to bring relief to those affected by the deadly winter storms in Texas and the surrounding states. The singer hails from Houston, Texas.
Multiple cast members from The Real Housewives of Dallas have also spoken out and shared their experiences via social media. Stephanie Hollman said on her Instagram Stories on Thursday that she and her family finally got their power back after three days without it.
"I know so many of you are cold, scared and just trying to keep your family warm," she added in a post shared to her feed. "Sending you my love and prayers. Check on your friends and neighbors, especially the elderly who may be unable to reach out for help. All my love to you ❤️."
On her own page, Hollman's co-star, Dr. Tiffany Moon, shared a photo of the extensive damage The Family Place shelter suffered as a result of the storm. The shelter is Texas' largest family violence agency empowering victims to be survivors.
"We have over 100 women and children who have been displaced from our shelter due to a burst pipe. They are OK and in temporary housing but we need to find a solution as this will take WEEKS to repair," Moon explained. "I have been reaching out to all our hotel connections but if anyone has ANY leads on housing for about 120 women and children for 4-6 weeks, please message me privately. We need all the help we can get. Thank you everyone and please stay safe."
Texas needs our help 🙏🏾❤️. There are organizations on the ground that need our assistance in helping Texans stay warm and safe. Donate, call, share, volunteer, pray. Whatever you can do to help! I’ll continue to share info and resources. Stay tuned and stay safe ❤️ pic.twitter.com/yABLWHNEh4
CBS News reported on Friday that approximately 187,000 households in Texas do not have power, which is down from a peak of 4 million. Texas is the only state that has its own power grid, one that is not regulated by the federal government. Gov. Greg Abbott said at the time that he signed an order that will stop businesses from selling natural gas outside of the state, and will instead mandate that the fuel be sold to in-state power generators.
"I understand that people are angry that this has happened," CEO Bill Magness of ERCOT, the power utility that supplies most of Texas, told CBS News. "Let us get the power back on."
CBS News has also put together a list of how you can help Texas residents in need. See below:
Support local journalists as they respond to the crisis and get the word out by donating to a GoFundMe for the Austin American-Statesman, the Dallas Morning News, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Live in Texas or nearby? Participate in AirBnB's "Open Homes" program by either opening up your spare space to those in need or by donating. NoirBnB is offering a similar service, asking users to open up their homes if they are able to. NoirBnB can be reached by email via Concierge@noirbnb.com.