‘This is what we’re made for’: Austin musicians lead supply distribution event after extreme winter storms


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin coordinated a mass distribution event on Tuesday to provide food, water and supplies for families struggling to recover from last week’s extreme winter storms.

But it was dozens of musicians and event staff — out of work and struggling themselves because of the pandemic — who led the charge.

“This is what we’re made for,” said Jeannette Gregor, founder of Amplified Sound Coalition, one of several groups that joined the city for the distribution event in east Austin. “It’s what we’re built for.”

For most of Austin, lights are back on, and water is running once again. Still, a line of more than 100 cars waited just before 1 p.m. to enter the parking lot outside the Millenium Youth Complex where volunteers, predominately from the music industry, executed the distribution of supplies with precise, backstage choreography.

Gregor said the event was an opportunity to prove those in the industry sidelined by the pandemic can still be put to good use.

“Let us do vaccine distribution. Let us help rebuild hotels the city is buying for the homeless community,” she said. “We’re basically here saying, ‘Put me in, coach!'”

Nonprofit organizations and businesses brought supplies in droves, still only scratching the surface of the need here.

Shakey Graves, the well-known Austin artist with his own day established by Austin City Council, took requests for supplies from a queue of cars that stretched blocks.

“I feel like the mourning period has sort of worn off,” he said. “It’s like, ‘yeah, stuff’s really bad. What can I do to help?'”

It was far from an ordinary performance for these musicians and crew members, but the rush is all the same.

“A couple of us looked at each other the other day and kind of had this stare, because we’d been here for eight hours, and we’re like, ‘There it is. There it is. Haven’t felt that in a year,'” Gregor said.

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