As the recent winter storms ravaged through Texas leaving many without power, heat, water—and in some cases—food, Austin couple Kathryn and Dax wanted to find a way to help.
What they thought would be a fun snowy Valentine’s Day turned into a multi-day snowstorm. The couple realized just how dire the situation was as they scrolled through their Ring Neighbors App and social media feeds, seeing posts about power outages and frozen pipes bursting. But at the same time, they saw their neighbors’ willingness to help each other and how the community comes together at times like these.
“You could take the temperature of the community easily and see people pinpointing where situations were occurring, what stores were open and who’s got water,” Kathryn explains. “It was really beautiful to see people showing up in the face of calamity, being indiscriminately generous—and being able to do it more efficiently through Ring Neighbors.”
Using the app, they came across a post asking if anyone nearby could drop off warm food for an elderly couple who had been without power for three days.
Located just a mile and a half away, Kathryn and Dax decided to do their part, gather supplies and deliver them to the neighbors in need.
“We responded to the post and said, ‘I think we can make it. We don’t have a whole lot, but we’ll make up whatever we’ve got,’” Kathryn says.
After connecting with the woman who made the post, Kathryn and Dax found out it was her 86- and 97-year-old parents-in-law that needed the help. Since she was having trouble making it out of her own driveway due to the snow, she was hoping to find someone nearby who would be willing to check in on them.
While Kathryn and Dax didn’t have power, they still had a functioning gas stove. So they used it to cook a large pot of pasta and even a container of popcorn, then packed it in a wagon and bundled up to trek across the neighborhood.
Luckily, as Kathryn and Dax arrived, so did the elderly couples’ daughter-in-law. She had been able to get inside the house and found them disoriented, but safe. Kathryn and Dax helped her carry in the supplies and offered to return to check on the couple again.
"I think what we got out of the situation was gratitude for the people who have the ability to do more, and a solid understanding that we want to make this something that we regularly do," Kathryn says. "Ring Neighbors and other social media has helped us be part of our community, so we're thankful that we were able to be there."
Building Stronger, Safer Communities With the Neighbors App
The Neighbors App helps you connect with your neighbors and stay up to date with what’s going on in your neighborhood. Millions of people in communities across the U.S. use the free app to receive real-time, hyper-local alerts from their neighbors, the Ring Team and in some areas, local public safety agencies. Anyone can download the Neighbors App, whether you have a Ring device or not.
Here’s how it works. You can outline a Neighborhood Area within a five-mile radius around your home. If anyone within that area shares an alert about crime or safety, a lost pet or even a neighborly moment, you’ll get a notification on your phone. You can also customize which types of updates you want to see and how often you want to get them.
In emergency situations, neighbors can use the Neighbors App to communicate and support each other. In the case of this recent winter storm in Texas, as residents hunkered down in their homes, the app helped them stay informed and connected with one another with real-time updates from their communities.
“In this instance, a family reached out and we just happened to grab them off the Neighbors App and say, ‘Hey, we’ll take this one,’” Kathryn says. “And we hope that our other neighbors will grab whatever opportunities that they have to do their part.”