This afternoon, the 12 Season for Caring agencies are receiving their first checks for $7,000. It is always a happy day when Season for Caring gets to give out funds because we know that it will go to helping the 12 featured families as well as hundreds of other families that these nonprofits serve.
This year’s nonprofit agencies are Any Baby Can, Breast Cancer Resource Center, CareBox Program, Care Communities, Caritas of Austin, Family Eldercare, Foundation Communities, Hospice Austin, Interfaith Action of Central Texas, LifeWorks, SAFE Austin and Wonders & Worries.
All of the Season for Caring funds get collected and held by the Austin Community Foundation, which then writes the grant checks to the Season for Caring agencies and send out the tax receipts to donors. Recipients do not receive any cash. Instead, their agencies write checks to pay bills, purchase some of their needs for them or provide them with gift cards for a specific purpose.
To make a donation, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring or find the coupon in the paper each day.
The first check typically goes to helping the featured families with their most pressing needs as well as providing Christmas presents. This year the need has been so great and some of the needs have greatly changed since we first told the families’ stories.
We know it will be used to help pay for the funeral of Rosalba Martínez-López, who died on Dec. 2, leaving behind four children and a grandchild. It will also be used to help pay some of Jacob Rodriguez-Lopez‘s bills as he takes care of his 4-year-old daughter Emely, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia and is in the hospital. Rodriguez-Lopez lost his wife to cancer in August.
And it will help Keila Vasquez and Luis Olais be able to move into their first apartment in January with their two children, 3-year-old Delilah and 4-month-old Noah.
Since launching this year, Season for Caring has raised $233,866 in monetary donations and $67,607 in in-kind donations, but we are still less than half-way to being able to do all the things our agencies want to be able to do for their clients throughout the year.
Read more about the families below, see what the biggest item on their wish list is and which agency nominated them.
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 1-year-old son Connor live in Taylor. Their biggest need is an apartment on the first floor. 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. Their biggest need is a prosthetic leg. 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. Their biggest need is home remodeling. Nominated by: CareBox Program, 512-296-2180, careboxprogram.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. Her biggest need is money to provide therapy. Nominated by: Foundation Communities, 512-610-7391, foundcom.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. Their need is tuition for Vasquez to go cosmetology school. Nominated by: SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone) Austin: Strong Start Program, 512-590-3114, safeaustin.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 Down syndrome and now leukemia. His biggest need is financial donations to help them while he is caring for Emely during treatment. Nominated by: Hospice Austin, 512-342-4726; hospiceaustin.org
The family of Rosalba Martínez-López, who died Dec. 2 from cervical cancer. Her family needs help with paying for the funeral and moving to their aunt’s house. 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. Her biggest need is financial assistance for rent and medical bills. 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. His bigest need is a green Moped, which will allow him to have access to more job possibilities. 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. Their biggest need is a real estate lawyer to settle the title on their house. Nominated by: Any Baby Can, 512-454-3743, anybabycan.org
Uliya Fazal Ahmad was abused after protecting her 14-year-old daughter from marriage and fled Afghanistan with her five children. Her biggest need is vocational training for her son, Mukhtar, to be able to support the family. Nominated by: Caritas of Austin, 512-646-1277, caritasofaustin.org