By Linda Papayanopulus, Community Engagement Coordinator
On March 17th, WestCare Texas held our Community Blood Drive & Drive-Thru Resource Fair to bring winter storm relief and recovery resources to low-income families following the crippling snowstorm that Texas faced in February.
The historic winter weather only exacerbated pre-existing disparities like poor infrastructure and a lack of resources in marginalized communities. Black and Latino families who were disproportionately hit by COVID-19 are now struggling to recover from one of the worst weather events to ever hit Texas. Despite, already tightening their budgets due to the pandemic, many people lost a week’s worth of wages since the storm kept them from working. Now, they are behind on rent and utilities on top of the challenges of home/plumbing repairs and restocking a week’s worth of fresh food that spoiled during the power outages.
WestCare Texas has been successful in creating and maintaining coalitions and partnerships with multiple organizations that have come together in times of crisis with the common purpose of addressing the needs of the community. Through collaborative partnerships, We are able to bring desperately needed programs and services together in one place where the community can easily access them.
We were happy to have involvement from 14 community organizations as well as giveaways of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), bottled water, and non-perishable food bags. Meanwhile, 16 blood donations were made to the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, 16 kidney screenings were conducted by the Texas Kidney Foundation, and 134 people registered for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations that were provided by Metro Health. In all, 130 attendees took part in the event.
This event wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support and donations from our sponsors: The City of San Antonio, the San Antonio Food Bank, CPS Energy, Metro Health, San Antonio Growth for the Eastside (SAGE), and the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.
“We understand the impact that this historic winter storm has had on so many of our low-income community members. That is why we invited community partners that can provide critical resources along with ongoing programs and services to assist families for the long road to recovery,” said Beverly Watts Davis, Chief Officer of Program Support and Resource Development and Senior Vice President for WestCare Texas.