Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is from New York, but the congresswoman is focusing on Texas this week after a storm left millions without power and caused widespread . Ocasio-Cortez reacted to the dire situation in the state by creating a fundraiser, which as of Thursday had raised $1 million, she said.
"Team AOC is launching relief efforts for Texas starting today," Ocasio-Cortez tweet on Thursday, linking to the fundraising page. "Our first effort is a partnership w/ 5 Texas orgs getting on-the-ground relief to Texans ASAP. If you're able, please donate here - it'll split your contribution to all 5."
Ocasio-Cortez said 100% of donations will go to The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, Ending Community Homeless Coalition (ECHO), Family Eldercare, Houston Food Bank and Feeding Texas.
About two hours after tweeting about the fundraiser, she had an update – it had raised $325,000 "for food, housing, elder care & direct relief straight to vulnerable Texans."
"This might be a little crazy... but can we raise $1M by midnight?" she continued. The congresswoman then gave donors an incentive to give: "I feel like I should do something if we hit $1M in Texas relief. What should it be? (Don't be weird pls)."
It seems like her efforts to encourage donors worked. By Thursday night she had raised $1 million, she said on Twitter, adding she was "blown away."
"As a thank you to everyone who contributed & amplified, I'll be going to Texas this weekend to visit w/ @LaCongresista [Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia] in Houston & highlight what's happening on the ground," she tweeted.
One of the people who helped amplify Ocasio-Cortez's efforts was former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, who thanked the congresswoman and "everyone who contributed in this drive to help the people of Texas."
Former HUD Secretary and Texas native Julian Castro also helped share Ocasio-Cortez's fundraiser on Twitter. Castro did his own fundraising, surpassing $100,000 for Feeding Texas food banks, he tweeted.
Many Twitter users praised Ocasio-Cortez, O'Rourke and Castro for their efforts to bring relief to the Lone Star State, with many comparing the three politicians to Sen. Ted Cruz, who traveled to Mexico as his home state battled the crisis.
Manythe Texas senator, who flew back to Houston from Cancun on Thursday. Cruz called the decision to leave Texas "a "mistake."
Millions of Texans lost power for days due to the storm. On Friday morning, more than 180,000 customers were still experiencing outages, according to powereoutage.us, and millions of people were under boil water notices, according to the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.
At least 34 deaths have been attributed to the storm across the South, including 20 in Texas.