In one of the hard-hit communities from the pandemic, mutual aid groups in Queens have been raising money and providing support for other similar organizations nearly 1,800 miles away in Texas, now recovering from a destructive snowstorm. The local groups in Queens, known for setting up community fridges and personally delivering meals around the borough, took to Instagram to support their counterparts.

“They have been dealing with a lot of the same things we have, in terms of the failure of government and how we have often have been asked to fill in the gaps [...] and that’s really not easy,” said Andrea Atehortua, a 32-year-old organizer in Queens who has been working with mutual aid groups since last April.

With a blue graphic of Texas and a hashtag ‘QNSLovesTexas,’ groups like Sunnyside and Woodside Mutual Aid, Astoria Fridge, Queens Liberation Project, and others have raised $6,045 in a day to send to other mutual aid organizations in Texas who are trying to provide people with drinking water, temporary shelter, and hot meals.

For the past week, millions of people throughout Texas have been left without electricity and drinkable water after a winter storm knocked out a vulnerable state power grid following freezing temperatures. As of Thursday, while much of the power had been restored, 7 million Texans remained under boil water notices. Dozens of people have been killed in connection to the power outage. President Joe Biden has now declared a state of emergency for Texas.

For organizers in Queens, who see themselves as primarily responsible for their own borough, it has been difficult to turn a blind eye to a situation that reminds them of when hospitals were overflooded, PPE was scarce, and thousands were dying. Last spring, the neighborhood of Elmhurst was considered an original epicenter of the outbreak, which has so far killed 8,602 people in Queens—7,308 confirmed deaths and the other 1,294 suspected to be caused by COVID. Several organizers, like Atehortua, see Texas as an extension of their community in Queens.

“Many of us have family in Texas. I have cousins in Houston. Other people have family in Austin and Dallas,” Atehortua said. “So it often-times feels like we are having to jump in and provide support whenever a crisis comes up.”

That support includes distributing the $6,045 equally among six groups in Texas. They include Feed The People Dallas Mutual Aid, which will be delivering supplies to more than 300 families in need on Saturday; Austin Mutual Aid, which is raising money to put people up in hotels; Funky Town Fridge in Fort Worth, which is trying to purchase water filters and deliver meals for those unable to cook; and Black Futures Collective in San Antonio, which is aiming their support for individuals closest to harm which includes, “Black women, Black femmes, Black trans folks.” Houseless Organizing Coalition in Houston and North Texas Rural Resilience are also receiving support. Some of the mutual aid groups Queens organizers initially reached out to asked them to send funds to other groups that had greater capacity to accept and redirect donations quickly.

Community fridge groups in Queens will be taking donations until Saturday. Other organizations stopped fundraising after reaching the 24-hour goal, but many are still calling on volunteers to provide logistical support for Texas groups, like answering calls and helping to organize distributions.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens, has also pitched in. On Thursday, the Democratic legislator was able to collect more than $2 million in donations for food banks and bigger relief organizations in Texas.

Ocasio-Cortez flew to Texas on Friday and is handing out supplies with Representative Sylvia Garcia, of eastern Houston, at the Houston Food Bank. Many people took to Twitter to praise the New York Congresswoman for doing more than Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The congressmember is being heavily criticized after leaving his state in a crisis for a trip to Cancún, Mexico.

“I think what we are seeing in Texas is a sign of what is to come, particularly with the climate crisis, and so, what we learned from this situation is that we really need to rely on each other and our communities when our institutions fail us,” said Atehortua.