The tragic social media images of Houston residents coping with unexpectedly frigid weather, snow, exploding pipes and ice touched people across the country — and rapper Travis Scott was among them.
The “Sicko Mode” and “Oh My/Dis Side” star, whose given name is Jacques Webster, is partnering with the City of Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Houston Health Foundation and the Cactus Jack Foundation, a Connecticut-based nonprofit that supports young people, to bring 50,000 hot meals to Houston residents contending with cold temperatures and electricity black outs.
The effort also involves a parade of local organizations, including The Black Service Chamber, the National Association of Christian Churches and restaurant owners.
The freak weather came seemingly out of the blue, hitting residents used to celebrating winter holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas in balmy temperatures with Canada-like weather. The area was not prepared for temperatures that have rarely visited the Southwest, forcing desperate people to crank up little-used fireplaces and even burn wood furniture when local stores ran out of firewood. Pipes not used to the cold temperatures burst in multiple places, sending water cascading through homes, apartments and college campuses. Those without electricity were forced to cook meals in the cold temperatures on charcoal grills.
The emergency meal program is targeting people in 30 zip codes heavily affected by the winter weather, in particular, seniors, high-risk and/or homebound adults, those with disabilities, families with children under 18, low-income residents and those without work.
The bizarre weather prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to make a disaster declaration that was approved by President Joe Biden. The move unlocked federal financial assistance. Low-water pressure due to exploding pipes motivated the state to issue a boil-water notice. The emergency also has left many residents isolated due to malfunctions with cell phone towers.