Things have been rough. On top of the pandemic, the extreme weather and the concurrent breakdown in the Texas power grid caused great hardship across the state, the city, and with SAFE. But our community has been incredible and has really come through for us. We are not out of the woods, but we are out of the immediate crisis. To that end, we still have needs (including financial) but they are no longer acute. For those interested in helping SAFE weather the coming months, and resupply and repair from the storm, below is information about our needs.
- UPDATE: Thankfully, we have enough water now, if you would still like to donate items a list of current needs is below. And if you have bottled sealed water that you want to donate, the Black Leaders Collective (working with the city and the Red Cross) is taking donations of water and food at Sims Elementary at 1203 Springdale Road. More info here.
If you’re in a position to help and still want to help SAFE, we have some very specific needs right now. Below is our list of needs and where you can drop them off or have them delivered. We ask that you please do not call SAFE right now about making donations; our staff is overloaded and we would greatly prefer to keep the phone lines open for survivors of violence calling in need of services. If you have questions, OR if you are a wholesale supplier and/or can make bulk donations, please contact Laurie Pharr at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Stephanie Appelfeller at email@example.com.
Current SAFE needs:
- Food – specifically for Family Shelter, which is experiencing disruptions in grocery deliveries. Please drop these items off at the SAFE main warehouse at 1515 Grove Blvd. Specifically, we need:
- 1 pound bags of rice
- 1 pound bags of sugar
- nonperishable items for meals: canned tuna, canned corn, canned green beans, canned mixed vegetables, canned/boxed soups, canned fruits, canned chicken, canned black beans, canned refried beans, canned pinto beans, Vienna sausages, Spam, canned chili, boxes of pasta, boxes of Hamburger Helper, instant mashed potatoes, pasta sauces, canned pastas (i.e. Chef Boyardee raviolis, spaghetti and meatballs, etc.), microwave mac’n’cheese, microwave meals
- Cleaning Supplies – for clients cleaning up flood/water damage, including sponges, paper towels, disinfectant cleaners (i.e. Mr. Clean), Clorox wipes, disinfecting cleaners/sprays. Please drop these items off at the SAFE main warehouse at 1515 Grove Blvd.
- Household items – If you are interested in helping our clients as they move out of shelter and into apartments of their own, you can shop for items from our Amazon and Target registries, which ship directly to our donation warehouse. We are thankful for you.
- Donations – If you do not have any of the items above to donate, we would love a financial gift of any size. Click HERE to donate.
Drop off locations:
- Please drop everything off at our main SAFE Warehouse building at 1515 Grove Blvd., Austin, Texas 78741.
Ideally we would prefer donations be dropped off between Monday and Friday, and before 5pm, as we do not have extra evening or weekend staff to check for/collect donations.
Thank you again. We are so incredibly humbled and honored by the support we have received from this community. Thank you.
Please know that SAFE is operating at a limited capacity. The persistent cold and lack of heat and power, coupled with the longstanding experience of COVID, is extraordinarily challenging for our staff and the people we serve. Just a few of our experiences:
- The hotel that we use for family violence shelter overflow due to COVID lost power from Sunday through Wednesday night. We are now struggling to get food and clean water to those residents.
- Our Children’s Shelter had pipes burst in the ceilings and two of the cottages flooded (think in-door rainstorm), even though we had weatherized everything. About 80% of those cottages are in total ruin, including computers, workstations, phones, power outlets, etc. One of these cottages was our Teen Parent/Early Childhood cottage which houses pregnant and parenting teens in the foster care system with their babies, so we moved kids, mattresses, and baby beds to another cottage, only to have the same thing happen again. We are now shuffling some kids and staff across town to ensure that we have space, including beds for staff that are taking double shifts when other youth care workers are stuck in the snow.
- Regular delivery services – milk, food, etc. have stopped. Most grocery stores are closed and the few that are open have hundreds of people in line to get in the doors. Most are closed because they have no power; when they are open they haven’t received any deliveries and have little food; and their employees are unable to get to work. We hope our food supplies hold up.
- People working from home have lost power – heat, ability to cook, internet, phone service. This includes over half of our SAFEline (24/7 hotline) staff. Yet calls are still coming in, and those few with power are covering for each other, and taking extremely long shifts.
- Staff are trying to check in daily with vulnerable survivors who don’t live on site. However, if they don’t have power they cannot charge their phones unless they are able to do so while in their cars. Many people are using their cars for warmth until they run out of gas.
- While we do have power and heat in both the Family Shelter and the Children’s Shelter, our essential (and already overworked) staff now must boil water for use by the nearly 300 adults and kids living between our two sites – and there is currently NO water at our Children’s Shelter.
- The financial cost to the agency will be significant.
And we are extremely thankful for our essential frontline staff that have made it to work, often with suitcases in tow because they know that our residential clients need us and that other staff cannot get in to work. Our essential frontline worker are positive, focused, and absolutely committed. But they are also starting to run on empty, just so tired. Survivors – young and old, all of whom have survived some form of trauma – are calm, making the best of this, and being kind to each other. The positive side to this unprecedented (yes, that word again!) event is seeing how many neighbors, co-workers, friends and family are stepping up to check on and support each other.