Texas A&M University opened its basketball arena to help keep the community safe during the historic winter storm that struck Texas last week.
When a week’s worth of snow, ice and single-digit temperatures hit Feb. 14, College Station shut down along with many other Texas cities. As the week went on and the power grid collapsed, Texas A&M — with assistance from the Red Cross — opened Reed Arena as a community warming center.
“We provide manpower and resources, but we were in need of a location for a warming shelter,” A.J. Renold, executive director of the Heart of Texas chapter of Red Cross, said, according to The Battalion. “After asking around, we found out that our usual facilities were without power as well. We reached out to Texas A&M, and they quickly offered up Reed Arena.”
Last Wednesday, according to Texas A&M Today, a group of Texas A&M Corps of Cadets began distributing food to Reed Arena. More than 100 residents used the multi-purposed arena, which opened in 1998, for warmth and shelter.
“Food was individually wrapped and water was bottled,” Renold said. “We had volunteers screening for COVID, and people were asked to stay in their own arena once they were set up. People were just thankful to get away from the cold and be able to call their families to them they were alright.”
Sara Berrett, a program aid in the Department of Recreational Sports, also began collecting blankets, jackets, coats, non-perishable food and other items for last Friday’s drive in the Reed Arena parking lot.
“It was great to see how many Aggies showed up to help,” Renold said. “They got there fast, and everyone was very willing to do whatever it took to make it happen.”