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Austinites stay in both official and unofficial warming centers opening their doors—and hearts—to those stuck in the cold

The Palmer Events Center has been a warming center for cold Austinites all week. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Having been without power since Monday, Angela Salva and Jordan Carter said staying at the warming center at the Palmer Events Center is better than being left in the cold during one of the coldest storms in Texas history.


"(It's as) comfortable as you can be on a cot," Carter said. "They gave us food. It's not the best food and it's cold but it's edible."

The pair have been without water, gas and electricity since Monday. It isn't a fix-all—the couple is missing out on needed work—but they are thankful to have a place to stay.

"Hopefully we'll go home—that's what I want to do," Salva said. "We don't want to make this our hotel."

Warming stations and shelters have been open all week, having to adjust to power outages and water shortages, but nevertheless providing a warm place for Austinites to go in the midst of an intense winter storm. A full list of city shelters can be found here.

The City of Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management Communications Manager Bryce Bencivengo said warming centers and shelters are trying to get Austin's most vulnerable to safety.

"We're planning to keep them open as long as they're needed," Bencivengo said. "We're acquiring things as we need them, you know, some of them lose water so we got to get porta-potties, some of them get power so if we can move people around we do it, if not we can put them on a generator. Resources change every day and we're meeting them and doing the best we can."

With over 45,000 people still without power and warming centers all over the city filling to capacity, local businesses are stepping up to the plate to warm the community. From breweries to yoga studios, business owners are offering a friendly hand to their neighbors.

The Brewtorium Brewery and Kitchen, located at 6015 Dillard Circle, has been offering what little resources it has to the community since Wednesday: water and electricity while it lasts.

Joe, a brewer at the restaurant who declined to give his last name, said the restaurant is taking things day-by-day, not knowing how long the electricity or water will last. Plus, they can only take in 50 people at a time for COVID-19 safety concerns.

Wednesday, Joe came in to run the restaurant by himself. But Thursday, he has help from other employees.

"It was a slow trickle, which was great," Joe said. "We're really hoping to keep it as a slow trickle because we have limited resources."

Similarly, Yoga East Austin doesn't have much to offer other than a warm room, water from the tap and a few outlets, but they are giving what they can—and it's more than what people have had in this winter crisis. Since its heat is powered by natural gas, the studio has even had owners sleep there to escape the bitter cold.

Gabriel, a teacher at the studio who declined to give his last name, said they are just trying to help people get out of the cold.

"We have a large yoga room, where people can just hang out in if they need to be warm for a few hours," Gabriel said. "We just figured today we take a pause on class and make the space available to people who needed it."

You can view a more complete list of businesses acting as warming centers here.

Popular

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway