SAN JUAN, Texas – U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has raised over $1 million for relief efforts in Texas.

She did so within about four hours of launching her appeal.

Ocasio-Cortez said the funds would be split equally between five separate Texas organizations: The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, Ending Community Homeless Coalition (ECHO), Family Eldercare, Houston Food Bank, and Feeding Texas.

These groups are working round the clock to assist houseless, hungry and senior Texans cope with the big winter freeze, Pix 11 of New York reported.

Within the first couple of hours, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that $325,000 had been raised and announced a goal of $1 million by midnight.

She announced that they’d hit that target just before 10 p.m.

“One hundred percent of this relief is going straight to Texan food assistance, homelessness relief, elder care and more,” the representative said.

Ocasio-Cortez’s efforts were no doubt helped by a national awareness of the Texas catastrophe. The deadly freeze, which at one point saw four million Texans living without power during sub-zero temperatures, has been reported heavily by national media outlets.

Once her $1 million target was reached, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “Wow. We officially raised $1 million for Texas relief at 9:17 p.m. Thank you all so much. I am at a loss for words. Always in awe of movement work.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has said it was “obviously a mistake” to fly to Cancún, Mexico, for a mini-break. There was uproar across Texas when details emerged that he had disappeared during a deadly winter storm.

Social media postings showed Cruz and his family waiting with luggage at an airport gate in Houston on Wednesday evening. His Senate office did not respond to repeated requests for comments for 12 hours.

Sen. Cruz finally released a statement saying he was returning from Cancún on Thursday afternoon. “With school cancelled for the week our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good Dad I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon. 

Cruz took questions from reporters at Cancún airport. “Well, Texas is going through horrific storms. Millions of Texans have lost power and lost heat and have been hurt and our family was among them. We had no heat and no power. Yesterday, my daughters asked if they could take a trip with some friends. Heidi and I agreed. So, I flew down with them last night, dropped them off here and now I am headed back to Texas and back to continuing to work to try to get the power on. What is happening in Texas is unacceptable. A lot of Texans are hurting.”

It later emerged that Sen. Cruz was booked to return Saturday. The plan was to stay three days. He said he had second thoughts about the trip after he got on the plane in Houston.

The New York Times reported that Cruz’s wife Heidi had sent text messages to friends and neighbors that their home in Houston was “freezing” and suggested they join them at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancún, noting that the room prices were affordable ($309 per night) and security was good. 

Sen. Cruz told reporters on Thursday evening: “I didn’t want all the screaming and yelling about this trip to distract even one moment from the real issues that I think Texans care about, which is keeping all of our families safe,” Cruz said. 

“It was obviously a mistake, and in hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it,” he said.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows people pushing a car free after spinning out in the snow Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 in Waco, Texas. A winter storm brought snow, ice and plunging temperatures across the southern Plains and caused a power emergency in Texas. (Photo: Jerry Larson / AP)

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