Jenna Bush Hager sent her love to her home state of Texas and shared ways to help people in need on Thursday as millions deal with power outages and catastrophic effects of the state's worst winter storm in decades.
"We want to just send our thoughts down to Texas," Bush Hager said on "TODAY With Hoda & Jenna." "The last couple days have been really, really difficult."
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Millions in the state were without power for days amid single-digit temperatures, with many people posting photos and videos on social media of bursting pipes, icy home interiors and furniture being burned for heat. More than 12 million residents have also had their water service affected, with many water systems issuing notices for residents to boil their water.
"I think people are easy to make jokes like, 'Texas, they can't deal with 2 inches of snow or whatever,'" Bush Hager said. "They're not prepared for weather like this. The houses weren't built, the pipes weren't built (for this weather).
"I know this sounds silly, but people don't have warm clothes like we do up here, and it's been 14-degree weather. It's getting warmer, it's on a warming trend, thank God, but it's really, really bad."
"When you look at these images, people don't have basic things they need," Hoda Kotb said.
Bush Hager, who grew up in Dallas and Austin and graduated from the University of Texas, shared some resources on Instagram Thursday for those looking to help people in need in Texas.
She shared the Venmo accounts for three mutual aid funds (@austinmutualaid, @feedthepeopledallas and @mutualaidhou) as well as suggested donations of food, clothing and water to the Salvation Army in Texas. Bush Hager also posted the hashtag #LoveThyNeighbor, which is being used to support the Austin Area Urban League in helping people with shelter and hotel rooms.
"There are so many ways we can help," Bush Hager said. "I've been so inspired, and also it wasn't a surprise to me, by neighbors that are checking in on their older neighbors, by people that have taken in people with newborn babies because they have electricity and they don't."
Here are some other ways people can donate to help those in Texas.
- The Austin-based nonprofit Front Steps is holding a blanket drive to help the homeless, while the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless has a list of shelters and organizations dedicated to helping those without housing amid the frigid temperatures.
- Austin's Free Lunch program provides meals to those experiencing homeless, and the Central Texas Food Bank is providing meals to people in need.
- The American Red Cross is providing cots and blankets at dozens of warming centers across the state.
- Texas Relief Warriors are helping feed seniors in Houston who have been without power and water.
- A group of Dallas organizations, including Camp Rhonda, Feed the People Dallas Mutual Aid, North Texas Food Bank, Tarrant Area Food Bank, Lucha Dallas and The Stewpot, are accepting donations to help feed people in need during the crisis.
- The Buckner Family Hope Center in Dallas is accepting donations for food, blankets and water at its warming center.
- The World Central Kitchen is in Houston providing meals to those in need.
- NBC affiliate KPRC also has an extensive list of organizations across the state working to help those in Texas.
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