Season for Caring, the Statesman’s holiday charity program, has raised $153,225.71 in its first 11 days. That includes a $25,000 donation from Whataburger and $7,245 raised by the Statesman online auction, which closed on Saturday.
This was the first year the Statesman held an auction. People could bid on everything from a fur coat to a night at the W Hotel — more than $13,000 worth of items, all donated by Statesman advertisers.
Since 1999, the program has raised $9.9 million for local nonprofit agencies. In fact, we are about $100,000 away from hitting the $10 million mark. You can give to Season for Caring by going to the website, statesman.com/seasonforcaring.
Season for Caring highlights the needs of local families, who are all nominated by local nonprofit agencies. The money raised helps the selected families first, but then the selected agencies are able to help hundreds of other clients throughout the year with basic needs.
We also seen many, many amazing in-kind gifts of goods and services this year. Factory Mattress is donating 35 beds worth $23,000 to Season for Caring families. Last week, we saw Maricela Garcia receive her bed. Tomorrow, we’ll see Ashley McGill get her bed. McGill currently sleeps in a recliner. A car accident makes it impossible for her to sleep in a horizontal position. Factory Mattress went above and beyond and worked with her agency, Wonders & Worries, to get McGill and adjustable bed.
We also got to see Deloris Fields meet with Dr. Kent Macaulay of the Capital Area Dental Foundation. He will be able to give this mom with breast cancer the ability to eat comfortably again after he repairs the damage left by treatment. Capital Area Dental Foundation is taking care of 11 Season for Caring recipients this year.
We’ve also seen Sheila King pick out new furniture at Austin’s Couch Potatoes. This weekend her home will be cleared out to make way for the new bedroom, living room and dining room furniture — about $6,000 worth. Waste Connections has donated a dumpster and Mobile Mini Storage has donated a storage unit.
More good news is on the way for all of the families, but if you can help by fulfilling an item on a family’s wish list or by making a monetary donation it will go a long way, more than you will ever know.
Read the stories of the families and learn more about their agencies:
Deloris Fields is a 26-year-old, single mother. She was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, but now the cancer has metastasized to her bones. She and 11-month-old son Connor live in Taylor. Nominated by: Breast Cancer Resource Center, 512-817-9775, bcrc.org.
Issa Noheli’s family members no longer fear for their lives after living in refugee camps in Africa for 17 years. When one camp was attacked, Noheli lost his leg and is now on crutches. Nominated by: Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, interfaithtexas.org
Sheila King and her family had three losses in two months: 15 year-old son, Austen, committed suicide; Sheila King’s husband Harrell and her mother Janie Chandler, both died from cancer. Nominated by: CareBox Program, 512-296-2180, careboxprogram.org
Keila Vasquez and Luis Olais face his rare genetic disease, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which their 3-year-old daughter also has. They are waiting to find out about their infant son. Nominated by: SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone) Austin: Strong Start Program, 512-590-3114, safeaustin.org.
Maricela Garcia raises her severely disabled son Raymond, 9, alone on a part-time salary. She needs certification for a better job and Raymond needs therapy. Nominated by: Foundation Communities, 512-610-7391, foundcom.org
Jacob Rodriguez-Lopez is now a widower after after his wife died of cervical cancer. He’s also a single father to 4-year-old Emely, who has heart defects and Down syndrome and has a tube in her stomach to eat. Nominated by: Hospice Austin, 512-342-4726; hospiceaustin.org
Rosalba Martínez-López’s family . This single mother and grandmother died on Dec. 2 from cervical cancer. Her children, who range in age from 21 to 13, need help with many things, including help paying for her funeral. Nominated by: Care Communities, 512-459-5883, carecommunities.org
Ashley McGill was thrown into homelessness after medical bills following a car accident. Though they are temporarily housed, she cannot make ends meet with debilitating head and neck pain. Nominated by: Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757, wondersandworries.org
Francisco Zuñiga-Echeverria, who is deaf, grew up in foster care after the death of his parents. After being homeless, he found LifeWorks and just needs a little help to be self-sufficient. Nominated by: LifeWorks, 512-735-2473; lifeworksaustin.org
Liliana De La Paz and Juan Martínez Domínguez have two children with rare genetic disease that affects their muscles, making them unable to walk. Nominated by: Any Baby Can, 512-454-3743, anybabycan.org