February, 2021 | Winter Storm Update
From HCWC Executive Director,
Marla Johnson
We hope you are recovering from the Big Storm. Who would have thought we would face temperatures barely above zero with no power or water during a global pandemic?  Honestly, it seems surreal – but we know it is real. At HCWC, we know that a crisis can bring both danger and opportunity. The danger of this crisis was apparent, but what about the opportunity?

This shared experience can give us empathy for victims of abuse. As ice and snow blanketed our area, we couldn’t leave even though we needed to seek safety. The snow was beautiful and rare yet we were miserable and felt trapped. We were powerless to protect our children and families and even pets from the painful experience. We were afraid and isolated. We anxiously anticipated broken pipes and destruction and we were powerless to stop it.

This is exactly how a victim of abuse often feels. They feel trapped in a terrible environment. They are fearful and sad that their family is suffering. They feel powerless. Emotionally, they feel weary and exhausted. And they are often suffering alone and unable to share the experience with anyone.
And yet, didn’t this crisis also strengthen our bonds? We all are reaching deeper to find ways to help others. Our understanding is reinforced that some of life’s misery is just unavoidable. The victim of a crisis should not be blamed, but rather supported.

None of us are to blame for the weather. Most of us are not to blame for problems with the power grid. Unless we are choosing to perpetuate abuse, we should not be blamed for the consequences of abuse. The victim of abuse deserves support.

And that is what we do at HCWC with your help. Thank you for helping us support victims of abuse. Stay strong and safe, my friends. We know that we will emerge from this stronger and more connected. 
Weathering the Storm at the McCoy
Family Shelter
23 individuals. 9 adults and 14 children. All of them displaced from their homes because of abuse and violence. Safe in a shelter, following protocols for a global pandemic, and then a once-in-a-lifetime winter storm rolled in. 

Unfortunately, it was a familiar feeling for those who experience abuse. 

As the snowstorm approached, the McCoy Family Shelter was full and prepared to hunker down and weather the forecasted arctic cold. Everyone was excited, especially the kids who couldn’t wait to play in the snow. By morning, the rolling power outages from throughout the night made the building really cold. Kids ran outside to play but didn’t last long. Thanks to donations from our Donation Center, everyone wore coats inside and every person received their own hat and gloves to help keep them warm.
Making the best of it, everyone pitched in to pass the time by bringing out board games, puzzles, coloring books. Meals were improvised since power continued to go in and out. At night, the adults in the shelter focused on keeping things positive for the kids. Everyone got their own flashlight and they took turns telling silly stories and kids ran around making shadow puppets and playing hide and go seek. 

“I hadn’t heard them laugh as hard as they did that night. What could have been miserable turned into an indoor campout atmosphere”, said Overnight Shelter Staff Beverly Pairett who stayed with them throughout the power outages.

The next day, the temperature inside the shelter was 49 degrees and it was almost unbearably cold. Thankfully, the power finally returned, but things quickly turned bad. As the pipes heated up a sudden rush of water from a burst pipe in the fire sprinkler system flooded the building. All the adults swiftly ran to help Beverly get buckets and brooms. They all worked together to prevent further damage.

We relocated the families to a hotel with coordinated support from the community and we set about making repairs. After a week, they were able to return. One little boy stepped off the bus and into the shelter and shouted “We’re home!” 
Working together during a crisis helped to bring our families closer during their shared times of need. 
They came together to create community. 
We want to say a very special thanks to Weusi Wellness, Loli’s Café, Salvation Army, Southside Community Center, Home Center, and HomeAid Austin for supporting HCWC during the winter storm by supplying us with food and water for shelter clients as well as Soulful Creations who cooked food for those who were in hotels housed by the Salvation Army. Thank you also to the individuals who have donated funds to help with repairs to our shelter.
Last Chance to Take The Pledge to End Dating Violence
The deadline is this Sunday, February 28th to take the #WhatAboutLove pledge to end dating violence. Share the pledge on social media to encourage others to do the same. Don’t forget to use #WhatAboutLove and #StopTheHurt!
A Place for Healing, A Heart of Gratitude
We would like to send a special thanks to all of our donors, supporters, and community partners. Without you, we would not be able to provide these critical services to Hays and Caldwell counties.

Most of all, we would like to thank each and every person we serve for having the bravery and strength to reach out for help.

At HCWC, our mission is to help create a community where violence and abuse are not tolerated. With your help, we WILL see that our mission is accomplished.