Power outages and bitter temperatures during last week’s polar vortex left many families in Alpine without electricity, heat, or water as Texas got hammered with a winter blast that had severe consequences.
With many looking for food and shelter, and scrambling for heat, several Alpine businesses and churches stepped up to provide a helping hand during the bitter winter storm.
Alpine ISD Superintendent Becky McCutchen was pleased with the ways the school cafeteria, administrators, and volunteers provided warm meals to anyone who had lost power at their homes and weren’t able to cook. She said some extra-caring volunteers even drove in their vehicles to deliver food to those in need. She felt it was a way of giving back to the community that has given so much support to the school district.
Across town, Sul Ross State University provided cots for overnight stays to those left without heat, and not just students.
“It was a pretty rough week with the storm and how many people lost power and access to water and food,” said Director of Communications Dean Wilkinson.
The Gallego Center served as a makeshift shelter, bringing access to heat and shelter for displaced residents, including about 100 Sul Ross students who couldn’t stay in their dorm rooms due to broken pipes.
Alpine business owner Amy Hardy also made sure that displaced residents were not left without food. The Ole Crystal Bar owner partnered with La Casita restaurant owner Tommy Ramos and Daniella Torres of Magoo’s Place, and graciously picked up the tab.
“I try to give back to the community as much as I can, and I just saw that everybody was suffering,” said Hardy.
Over at Old Gringo Coffee and Cocktails, complimentary coffee, soup, and showers were provided, and owner Monica Quiroga even offered free hotel rooms to those who had no place to stay.
“We didn’t do it for publicity, we did it because it was the right thing to do,” said Quiroga. “We got lucky that the building stayed relatively warm due to new construction and insulation, and we only lost power for 36 hours.”
Volunteers at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church prepared and distributed 300 warm meals at no cost, and Grace Christian Fellowship provided both meals and shelter. Volunteers supplied 200 meals to residents around town, including a senior housing community. Church Secretary Nancy Newsom said the kitchen also opened to provide Meals on Wheels for the Sunshine House.
Highland Inn owner Sammy Acosta offered complimentary rooms for about 25 families left without power or running water.
Acosta, who was born and raised in Alpine, credits his fellow business owners for the generosity, adding, “All we can do is help each other out, help our fellow human beings. We always give back to our community. We don’t ask for publicity. We don’t ask for a pat on the back. We just know that people are grateful, and we know we are here for them if they ever need us.”