A fundraising effort spearheaded by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to help storm-battered Texans has raised more than $4 million in just a few days.
On Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez was on the ground in Texas to celebrate the success of the fundraising effort, which will go to local organizations providing Texans food assistance, homelessness relief and elder care. She was joined by Democratic Texas Reps. Sylvia Garcia and Sheila Jackson Lee, all of whom helped fill boxes at the Houston Food Bank.
"When disaster strikes, this is not just an issue for Texans; this is an issue for our entire country," Ocasio-Cortez told reporters. "And our whole country needs to come and rally together behind the needs of Texans all across this state."
She added: "That's the New York spirit, that's the Texas spirit, and that's the American spirit."
Winter storms across Texas left dozens dead, knocked out power for millions for days and many still do not have safe drinking water.
Garcia said the fundraising idea was spurred by Ocasio-Cortez, who sent her a text saying she wanted to help. "You know, we're from Texas right?" Garcia told reporters. "Who does things with New York? We always kind of make fun of New York. But this time we love New York."
Ocasio-Cortez announced the fundraising Thursday afternoon on Twitter. Within two hours, the effort had pulled in $325,000 in donations. By Friday morning, the total was up to $2 million. As of Saturday afternoon, $4 million, according to Ocasio-Cortez.
As Houston Public Media reports, the money will go toward several organizations, including the Houston Food Bank, Family Eldercare, Feeding Texas, and the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center. But charity itself, while helpful, doesn't replace the need for policies that prevent power grids from failing in the future, Ocasio-Cortez said.
"We need to make sure that we make short and long-term policy decisions to that this devastation — preventable devastation — never happens again," she said.
A number of factors contributed to the massive power failures in Texas, which relies on its own electricity grid.
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