By Vicki Spriggs, Texas CASA CEO
My Dear Community,
As I greet a gorgeous, sunny day here in Austin, I find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that just two weeks ago, I was battling intermittent power outages during freezing temperatures and boiling my drinking water.
Last month’s winter storm devastated Texas’ communities, leaving many of us stuck in our homes, without power and water, with grocery stores and other essential businesses closed and roads too dangerous to access. This event painted a humbling picture of what can happen when our access to basic necessities like food, water, heat, shelter and transportation are suddenly lost. Many Texans endured multiple days of power and water outages. Others without stable housing were forced to endure record-breaking cold while living outdoors. Even today, there are communities that are still without clean drinking water.
But in the midst of unforeseen turmoil, we supported each other. Friends and strangers alike shared hot meals, clean water and spare rooms in warm homes. Community volunteers called elderly and housebound neighbors who had no one else to check on them. Mutual aid groups and nonprofits coordinated safe transportation, water shut-off to prevent homes from flooding, and many other resources and services.
And specifically, the CASA and greater child welfare community went to extraordinary measures to ensure that children and families were safe. Group home and treatment facility staff stayed at placements for days so that they did not risk driving in dangerous conditions, and to ensure children were supervised and fed. Those with four-wheel-drive vehicles picked up and dropped off their coworkers from their shifts. CASA programs and other child-serving organizations mobilized to deliver food, water and other needed supplies to facilities, foster homes and families in need.
And if this weren’t enough, all of these amazing efforts took place as we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We don’t yet know how long Texas will be dealing with the effects of this storm as many of us grapple with trauma from this experience, on top of damages to homes and businesses. What we do know is that our communities are supportive, compassionate and strong, and the events of the last few weeks have only further assured us of that fact.
We continue to be inspired by each and every one of you and your commitment to not only the CASA network and the children and families we serve, but your community as a whole. As we collectively rebuild, Texas CASA reaffirms its commitment to being of, and for, the community. We will get through this together and move forward to heal and come back stronger than before. Thank you for all that you do—through rain, snow, power outages, pandemics and beyond—for Texas children and families.