Austin Winter Storm Relief Provides Hot Meals to Community

A Taste of Koko, 365 Things Austin, MYLK Collective and Cara Caulkins Communications have helped raised over $135,000 (and counting!)

By Vanessa Blankenship
Austin Winter Storm Relief Fund

Chaos erupted last week as millions of Texans experienced days of no heat, power or water in their homes after a treacherous winter storm raged through the state.

While many are still hurting from the disastrous event, Austinites are coming together to bring hot meals to those who need them the most.

Austin Winter Storm Relief — a GoFundMe organized by A Taste of Koko, 365 Things Austin, MYLK Collective and Cara Caulkins Communications — is spearheading a mission to raise money to support local restaurants to give out free meals to local hospitals, warming centers, EMS medics and the public.

The GoFundMe has already raised more than $135,000 (surpassing their original goal of $10,000), and the financial support from local brands, companies and celebrities, including Deep Eddy Vodka, Nutrabolt, LivWell Ventures, Bumble, Kendra Scott, Brooklyn Decker and Andy Roddick, have helped distribute thousands of meals this week.

“If funds are remaining after people are operating normally, that’s what we can use to help restaurants get back on their feet,” says Cara of Cara Caulkins Communications. “This is not going to get better overnight, so we know people are going to be dealing with plumbing issues and perishable foods being wasted and things like that, and some of these small businesses are going to need a lot of help to get back on their feet.”

Local Eateries like Tacodeli (3,000 donated tacos), Veracruz All Natural (5,000 donated tacos), Chi’lantro (4,000 donated bowls) and Southside Flying Pizza (over 1500 donated pizzas) are just a few of the many amazing Austin restaurants that have gone above and beyond to feed the community.

The GoFundMe launched on Tuesday, February 16, and has received an overwhelming amount of support from the restaurant industry and Austin community since.

“The first day, we only had four restaurants onboard, and by the second day, it was a full-blown operation,” says Chelsea McCullough of MYLK Collective.

McCullough and Austin food blogger Jane Ko have experience with successful fundraisers after creating Hundred for Hospitality ,which raised more than $15,000 in April to support service industry workers hit hard during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

During and in the wake of an unprecedented winter storm, Ko has received countless messages and calls from doctors who were in desperate need of feeding their medical staff members.

Now, the GoFundMe is helping to provide meals to medical workers at Seton-Ascension Hospitals in the Austin and Round Rock area, including Dell Seton Medical Center, Dell Children’s Medical Center and more.

Valentine’s Day weekend was supposed to be a huge source of revenue for our beloved restaurants, but the winter storm is another big hit. It will be a disaster for many eateries that were just starting to recover from the downturn in 2020.

“I don’t know if the public can fully understand how hard this hits our restaurants for everyone who stocked up for Valentine’s Day,” says Ko.

As Austin faces another crisis, the Austin Winter Storm Relief organizers all agree that it’s been an incredible experience to watch the community come together to lend a helping hand.

If you’re looking for more information, want to make a donation, or want to get involved, check out the Austin Winter Storm Relief GoFundMe here.


Read More From the Community + Wellness Issue | February 2021


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