Texans in need of clean water may soon be opening water bottles collected by the Oxford Baptist Church.
Oxford Baptist Church Pastor Ruddy Allen said about 50 to 60 families and organizations helped bring together more than 42,000 water bottles for those in need in the aftermath of the recent winter storm in Texas. The community water drive was held from Feb. 28 through March 5.
“It’s miraculous, wouldn’t you say?” Allen said.
Allen said the church was inspired to take action through Matthew 25: Ministries (M25M), an international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization located in Cincinnati.
On March 12, M25M retrieved the truck trailer they dropped off at the church for storage and transported the water to the Dallas and Houston areas. From there, water bottles will be distributed to those in need.
According to the M25M website, “Matthew 25: Ministries has shipped approximately 11 truckloads of disaster relief supplies to aid those affected by the winter storm in Texas.”
Will Beck, a sophomore software engineering major at Miami University, made the decision to take the spring semester remotely from his hometown in the north Dallas area.
“Since COVID and now the storm, it’s just been chaos,” Beck said. “You are just a little bit more grateful for everyday things.”
While Beck’s family home did not have any power outages or burst pipes, some of his neighbors weren’t so fortunate.
“It’s super random – one street has [power], one street doesn't,” Beck said. “I was living every day expecting the power to go out the next minute. I’d make a meal and wait for it to turn off, or I’d go to bed expecting to wake up to no power.”
Sydney Herrick, a senior art and architecture history major, is from the suburbs of Austin, Texas. Herrick said she thinks a major reason for the damage caused is because Texas is not used to dealing with snow storms.
“They don’t have salt or plows that can really access the suburbs,” Herrick said. “My mom tried to get groceries before they could run out of stuff to eat.”
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In the days leading up to the winter storm, Beck said most grocery stores ran out of basic necessities, meaning donations from small communities like Oxford were that much more appreciated.
“I went to the grocery store the day before and there was nothing – nothing at all,” Beck said. “To have these donations and relief efforts come in, it’s amazing. It’s something you would never really think would apply to you, but it’s crazy to know that there’s people out there caring for us.”
Herrick said Oxford’s donations could not have come at a better time as well.
“I think the fact that a large developed place like Austin having to have donations sent in through tiny little communities like Oxford is telling as to how underprepared Austin was for this whole situation,” Herrick said. “I just thought it was super generous considering it’s so far out of their reach.”
Interested community members can help Texas relief efforts by donating supplies to Matthew 25: Ministries or to a relief organization of choice.