The weather is getting warmer but Austin is still working to help those in need after Winter Storm Uri left many without power or water for days.
If you are in need, these organizations and schools are helping distribute warm meals and water to the community.
- Austin Latino Coalition at St. Elmo Elementary, 600 W. St. Elmo
Free hot meals from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., while supplies last, and free meal boxes with tacos, cases of water and hygiene supplies from 3-6 p.m.
TODAY! HOY! Free HOT Meals Gratis Comidas Caliente
Monday, Feb. 22nd, 11am-6pm St. Elmo Elementary
el lunes 22 de febrero de 2021 en la Primaria St. Elmo
FREE Meal Boxes, Cases of Water, Tacos & Household/Personal Hygiene Supplies, 3-6pm
Cajas de comida, cajas de agua,3-6pm pic.twitter.com/1sX7p9sO9p
— Austin Latino Coalition (@AustinLatinoCo1) February 22, 2021
- Mendez Middle School, 5106 Village Square Dr.
Bottled water and meal distribution from 3-5 p.m.
- Juan Navarro Early College High School, 1200 Fairfield Drive
Starting at 10:30 a.m., Juan Navarro ECHS will have free food and water.
- Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd.
From 3-7 p.m., Circuit of the Americas will have free food and water distribution.
- Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex, 1156 Hargrave St.
Tesla-sponsored food trucks
Additionally, Del Valle Community Coalition has five pop-up food trucks sponsored by Tesla located around Austin from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Shawarma Point food truck, 5106 Village Square Dr.
- Easy Tiger Bakery, 2800 Metcalfe Rd.
- Wholly Cow Burger food truck, 600 W. St. Elmo Rd.
- Taco Baby food truck, 4901 Truman Oak Cove
- BBQ Heaven food truck, 5121 Albert Brown Dr.
AISD curbside meals
33 schools in the Austin Independent School District will also provide free curbside meals for children and their caregivers from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Water distribution sites
The city of Austin also has 10 water distribution sites open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until supplies last.
- Lakeline Station, 13652 Lyndhurst Blvd.
- Walnut Creek Park, 12138 N. Lamar Blvd.
- Anderson High School, 8403 Mesa Dr.
- ACC Highland Mall parking lot, 604 E. Highland Mall Blvd.
- Nelson Field, 7105 Berkman Dr.
- Zilker Park, 2301 Barton Springs Rd.
- Roy G. Guerrero Park, 400 Grove Blvd.
- ACC Pinnacle Campus, 7748 US-290
- Garrison Park, 6001 Menchaca Rd.
- Onion Creek Soccer Complex, 5600 E. William Cannon
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For years Austin has been one of the top 5 places to live in the U.S., according to an annual ranking from U.S. News and World Report. But this year, Austin dropped out of the top 10.
The publication ranked Austin at No. 13, down from No. 5 last year, No. 3 in 2020 and No. 1 in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Cities ranking in the top this year were No. 1 Huntsville, Alabama, No. 2 Colorado Springs and No. 3 Green Bay, Wisconsin.
So why did it rank lower this year?
The hot housing market is part of the reason. The report states "Austin offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income."
Still, Austin was the highest-ranked Texas city on the list. Adding to its desirability are its live music capital roots and the growing tech scene. The next Texas area on the list was Dallas-Fort Worth coming in at No. 32.
U.S. News says it analyzed 150 metro areas in the U.S. to make the list based on the quality of life, the job market, the value of living there and people's desire to live there.
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Austin parents and grocery store shelves are feeling the effects of a nationwide baby formula shortage.
Caused mostly by a February recall due to contamination issues, followed by the Abbott Nutrition factory closure in Michigan, the shortage has left Austin shelves barren. However, earlier this week, U.S. officials announced a plan with the facility to restart production.
In the meantime, local parents in crisis have turned toward the Mother’s Milk Bank to keep their babies fed.
HEB on East 7th has been picked clean of formula and is limiting purchases. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The milk bank—which takes donations from lactating mothers and dispenses milk to babies in the NICU—has been helping feed upwards of 30 families in need as the formula supply tightens.
According to the bank’s executive director Kim Updegrove, Mother’s Milk Bank has seen an uptick in calls from parents with healthy babies in need of help since the shortage began.
“We aren't used to hearing from families with healthy infants,” Updegrove said. “They're typically very upset, angry, frustrated, sobbing—it's scary to not be able to feed your infants. So in the past few weeks, those calls have been significantly increasing.”
Mothers are only able to donate if they are within a year postpartum, so Updegrove said they are constantly bringing on and retiring donors. While donors had been on a 30% decline leftover from 2021 when the shortage began, Updegrove said the shortage has led to mass community interest and more than 90 prospective donors in just the past few days.
“We and other milk banks are experiencing significant interest from the community—becoming milk donors and helping to turn around this crisis,” Updegrove said. “Every infant needs to be fed, every one of us can relate to that need, and we need to make sure as a community that it happens.”
Whole Foods downtown was also cleaned out of typical formula. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
While you may still be able to find formula at places like Whole Foods—which currently has goat milk, soy and plant-based formula in stock—Updegrove said it might not be what a baby needs.
Updegrove said it is best to buy types that say “infant formula,” as they are FDA approved and will provide the nutrients, vitamins and minerals a baby needs. Plant-based, homemade, non-cow's milk or diluting formula may not provide the same nutritional value.
As the community navigates the shortage, Updegrove said the most important way to help out is to not panic buy or stockpile.
“This is a crisis for families,” Updegrove said. “This is the time for the community to gather together and figure out what everyone can do to help families with young infants.”