Thanks to matching grant, Season for Caring seeing big numbers in first few days

You are doing it, Central Texas. You are making a huge difference in the lives of the 12 featured Statesman Season for Caring families and having a big impact on hundreds of other families served by the 12 local nonprofit agencies that nominated them.

As of noon Wednesday, Season for Caring has raised $105,046, about $30,000 more than the same time last year, and it has raised $41,175 since Monday that will be matched by the Sheth family. The Austin family has pledged to match up to $100,000 for donations received from Monday to Dec. 11. Let’s knock that out of the park!

If you haven’t get made your donation yet, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring and click on the Donate to Season for Caring link. 

What does your Season for Caring donation do? It will help hundreds of local families with basic needs like rent, medical care, utilities, transportation, grocery store gift cards, education needs, funeral expenses, and wheelchair ramps and shower chairs — and not just during the holidays, but throughout the rest of the year.

Nehemiah Johnson, 3, plays on the playscape in Hutto. His family is part of Season for Caring. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Our nonprofit partner agencies depend on Season for Caring funds to be their emergency assistance funds. Since 1999, Season for Caring has donated $10.5 million to local nonprofit organizations.

This year, the Statesman selected these agencies and families:

Alden Sherwood participates in an archery tournament at Double G Archery in Georgetown, Texas. Alden has been dealing with the lingering effects of a brain tumor. Suzanne Cordeiro / For American-Statesman

• Any Baby Can, Sherwood family: Trisha Sherwood, 40, has multiple sclerosis. Her 16-year-old son Alden had a brain tumor and now is in a wheelchair. And 13-year-old son Jacob is on the autism spectrum.

Rogaciano Rios Marcial and his four children fold their clothes at their apartment. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

• Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, Ríos Marcial family: Rogaciano Ríos Marcial, 46, lost his wife just after Mother’s Day to liver complications. He is raising four children ages 5 to 10 on his own.

Margarita Matias, 72, who is currently going through treatment for stage four ovarian cancer, 46, watches television with her son Ricky Felix Perez, who has an intellectual disability, cerebral palsy and testicular cancer, on November 10th, 2017.
Erika Rich for American – Statesman

• CareBox Program, Matias family: Margarita Matias, 72, has stage 4 ovarian cancer. Her husband, Jessie, 60, had kidney cancer. They are caring for son Ricky, 46, who has cerebral palsy and testicular cancer.

Hawa Hassan, 30, sits on the sofa with her three children inside their East Austin apartment. QILING WANG / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

• Caritas of Austin, Hassan family: Hawa Hassan, 30, grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya. She was able to come to the U.S. with her three children, one of whom has muscular dystrophy and can no longer walk.

Kenneth and Joyce Marvel have intellectual disabilities and are struggling to pay their bills. 
RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

• Family Eldercare, Marvel family: Kenneth and Joyce Marvel both have intellectual disabilities. He’s 65 and has been able to support them by washing dishes at El Mercado, but soon it will be time to retire. She’s 73 and was injured when a bus ran over her toe.

The Negron family celebrates after decorating the Dia de los Muertos altar. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

• Foundation Communities, Negron family: Mayra Negron Romero, 45, lost her husband in a car accident last December. Her daughter Samanta, 25, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January.

Gael Guadalupe Gracia Garcia raises his father, Marcelo Gracia’s head after it fell forward. Marcelo Gracia was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2011.  RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

• Hospice Austin, Marcelo Gracia: Marcelo Gracia, 45, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2011. His son Gael Guadalupe Gracia Garcia, 24, has become his caretaker.

Ahlam Al Battal feeds a bottle to her youngest child Halil. She fled Syria via Jordan with her husband Sami and their children. Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

• Interfaith Action of Central Texas, Ashour family: Sami Ashour, 48, his wife, Ahlam Al Battal, 38, and their children had to leave war-torn Syria for a refugee camp in Jordan and then made it to the United States. Many of their friends and family did not survive the war.

Lyric Wardlow spent most of her childhood homeless and helping her mother, who is mentally ill. 
Erika Rich for American-Statesman

• LifeWorks, Lyric Wardlow: Lyric Wardlow, 19, became homeless when she was 9, but she found a way to get her high school diploma. She wants to go to college to become an advocate for the homeless.

Bertha Foster shows her son, Donovan Clay, a picture on Facebook. ANA RAMIREZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

• Meals on Wheels Central Texas, Foster family: After a series of strokes left Bertha Foster, 43, partially paralyzed, she now relies on family members, including her 15-year-old son Donovan, to care for her.

Jazmyne Johnson, 24, is a single mother of three, from left, Nehemiah, 3, and twins Nakayla and Nyliah, 4. Nakayla has microcephaly, which has caused developmental delays.
RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

• Opportunities for Williams & Burnet Counties, Johnson family: Jazmyne Johnson, 24, has 4-year-old twin daughters and a 3-year-old son. Her daughter Nakayla has developmental delays from her skull not growing large enough to fit her brain.

Nikki Jones plays games with her 6-year-old daughter, Adeline, at their South Austin home. QILING WANG / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

• Wonders & Worries, Jones family: Nikki Jones, 35, wants nothing more than to see daughter Adeline, 6, graduate from high school. Jones has common variable immune deficiency, which makes her vulnerable to infections.

Read the stories of these families. If you can make a donation of something on their wish list, contact the nonprofit agency directly.

Thank you to everyone who has given so far. Let’s make this the best Season for Caring ever.

 

 

Are you ready for Driskill Hotel’s Cookies for Caring? Buy tins now

The Third Cookies for Caring from Driskill Hotel returns Dec. 10. The event has become a popular way to donate to Statesman Season for Caring, selling out the first two years.

Carys DeCrane, 9, enjoys a cookie from the Cookies for Caring event at the Driskill Hotel. The event was the scene of charitable giving to the Season for Caring campaign as money was raised through donations for a cookie tin filled with delights from local pastry chefs in Austin.
RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Buy a $35 tin and you can go from table to table in the Driskill ballroom and put cookies from some of Austin’s finest pastry chefs into your tin.

We already know there will be cookies from:

  • 1886 Café & Bakery
  • Four Seasons Austin
  • Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa
  • Hyatt Regency Austin
  • Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
  • The Cake Plate
  • Caroline Restaurant
  • Parkside Projects

More restaurants are being added.

There’s only 300 tins available, so don’t wait to buy them.

Led by Executive Pastry Chef Tony Sansalone of the Driskill Hotel the second annual Cookies for Caring raised money for Season for Caring when people bought a cookie tin filled with delights from local pastry chefs in Austin. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Cookies for Caring

When: 1-3 p.m. Dec. 10

Where: Driskill Hotel ballroom, 604 Brazos St.

Tickets: $35 tin purchased at driskillhotel.com

The Driskill helps Season for Caring in other ways. Tuesday night, Nikki Jones and her daughter, Adeline, will light the Christmas tree and spend the night in the hotel. This is an amazing treat for Jones, who has common variable immune deficiency, which means she is prone to infections. She’s 35 and her life expectancy is estimated to be 45.

This is the third year a Season for Caring family has had this honor.

Driskill Hotel Tree Lighting

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St.

Tickets: Free

Information: driskillhotel.com.

Mia Garcia was the guest of honor and chosen to turn on the lights at the annual Driskill Hotel Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in 2015. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Want to give in another way? You can make a monetary donation. Now through Dec. 11, it’s being matched by the Sheth family up to $100,000. Find a donation coupon each day in the paper or go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring to donate.

You can also read the Season for Caring families’ stories and see what’s on their wish lists. Contact a family’s specific agency to donate an item.

 

 

Austin Executives Association makes organization’s first charitable gift

The Austin Executives Association puts on its business cards that it was established in 1976. Actually, the members aren’t quite sure, but they think that’s right. The group of business executives from around Austin meets every second, third and fourth Wednesday of the month at Texas Land & Cattle Steak House for lunch, networking and learning from the community.

“We refer business, we share stories, we are friends,” said Leah Linney, the group’s secretary, when she describes how the group might differ from other networking groups. “This group is more about building the relationships.”

Statesman Season for Caring’s Jeff Simecek, center, receives a giant check from Austin Executives Association board members: Secretary Leah Linney, Program Director Patti Riggs, President John Fincher and Treasurer Drexel Johnson. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

When they invited Statesman Season for Caring representatives to talk to the group on Nov. 15, we thought we were just coming to share what amazing things Season for Caring has been able to do for the community since 1999 as well as talk a little bit about how the program works. Maybe a member of the group would want to donate something or put us in touch with a company that could.

And then association president John Fincher presented us with a $1,000 check. It was the group’s first charitable donation ever. Sure, they’ve asked their members to give donations to worthy causes from time to time, but they’ve never used the organization’s funds to give to a nonprofit organization.

A lot of the group’s members do charity work, but when the group decided to donate some of its surplus, Fincher said, “We didn’t want to pick one from our own group.”

The leadership came up with some different ideas and put it out to the group. Season for Caring won.

The donation will be split evenly among Season for Caring’s 12 chosen local nonprofit agencies this year: Any Baby Can, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, CareBox Program, Caritas of Austin, Family Eldercare, Foundation Communities, Hospice Austin, Interfaith Action of Central Texas, LifeWorks, Meals on Wheels Central Texas, Opportunities for Williamson & Burnet Counties, and Wonders & Worries.

To find out more about Statesman Season for Caring or to make a donation, go to Statesman.com/seasonforcaring. Now through Dec. 11, up to $100,0000 in donations are being matched by the Sheth Family.

 

Where are they now: Jacob Rodriguez-Lopez 

“I’m not going to lie to you,” Jacob Rodriguez-Lopez says. “But it’s really hard for me because every time when I see the picture of Adriana and Emely, I just can’t believe.”

Rodriguez-Lopez, 27, first lost his wife, Adriana, last August from cervical cancer. Then in December his 4-year-old daughter, Emely, became sick with leukemia. She died Jan. 5.

Jacob Rodriguez-Lopez plays with his daughter Emely Rodriguez-Aviles.
Kelly West/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016

The family was part of the Statesman Season for Caring program last year. Every year, the Statesman tells the story of 12 families who have been nominated to the program by local nonprofit organizations. We invite the community and local businesses to donate a gift of money or goods or services on the families’ wish lists. Donations are given to the featured families first, and then, every year, Season for Caring funds help hundreds of other families through the selected nonprofit agencies.

Last year, Season for Caring raised more than $840,000 to help the community. On Nov. 26, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families who need your help, but first, we take a look back at the families from last year and share how they are doing.

Rodriguez-Lopez is currently living and working in Alabama, where he is close to his brother. He isn’t sure if he will stay there or come back to Texas.

To make a donation to Season for Caring, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Where are they now? The family of Rosalba Martínez-López

“It’s a little bit hard,” says Ana Anacleto Martínez, the daughter of  Rosalba Martínez-López, who died Dec. 2 from cervical cancer. She was 37.

Rosabla Martínez-López hold her granddaughter Sofia Guerrero Mondragón as her daughter Kimberley Mondragón-Martínez looks on during their visit at the Hospice Austin’s Christopher House. 
RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The family was part of the Statesman Season for Caring program last year. Every year, the Statesman tells the story of 12 families who have been nominated to the program by local nonprofit organizations. We invite the community and local businesses to donate a gift of money or goods or services on the families’ wish lists. Donations are given to the featured families first, and then, every year, Season for Caring funds help hundreds of other families through the selected nonprofit agencies.

Last year, Season for Caring raised more than $840,000 to help the community. On Nov. 26, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families who need your help, but first, we take a look back at the families from last year and share how they are doing.

Rosalba Martínez-López’s four children and granddaughter were able to have a funeral for her using Season for Caring funds. The kids are now living between the homes of oldest daughter Anacleto Martínez, 22, and their aunt, Laura Martínez-Devalerio.

The kids, Anacleto Martínez says “always talk about Mom and this and that. It’s kind of hard.”

Anacleto Martínez hopes to return to school in January after taking a break to take care of her siblings.

To make a donation to Season for Caring, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Where are they now? The King family

Sheila King, 50, and her family have made it through the loss of son Austen, father Harrell and her mother Janie. This year, son Michael and daughter-in-law Lena welcomed baby Xander.

Sheila King, center, thanks the owners of Austin’s Couch Potatoes, Daniel Anthony, left, and brothers Brian and Travis Morgan, who donated furniture to King and her family. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

King was part of the Statesman Season for Caring program last year. Every year, the Statesman tells the story of 12 families who have been nominated to the program by local nonprofit organizations. We invite the community and local businesses to donate a gift of money or goods or services on the families’ wish lists. Donations are given to the featured families first, and then, every year, Season for Caring funds help hundreds of other families through the selected nonprofit agencies.

Last year, Season for Caring raised more than $840,000 to help the community. On Nov. 26, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families who need your help, but first, we take a look back at the families from last year and share how they are doing.

The Kings needed major home repairs and got some of them, including new kitchen counters and sinks from New Stone Concepts. They also received new furniture from Austin’s Couch Potatoes.

Recently, King has been hospitalized for an autoimmune disorder.

To make a donation to Season for Caring, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Where are they now? Deloris Fields

Deloris Fields, 27, and her son, Connor, 1, have been able to move into a first-floor apartment in Taylor this year. Fields has stage four breast cancer which has been in her bones. She needed the first-floor apartment to make it easier on her.

Deloris Fields has her makeup applied by artist Kewal Hausmann in preparation for the 2017 Art Bra Austin in June. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Fields was part of the Statesman Season for Caring program last year. Every year, the Statesman tells the story of 12 families who have been nominated to the program by local nonprofit organizations. We invite the community and local businesses to donate a gift of money or goods or services on the families’ wish lists. Donations are given to the featured families first, and then, every year, Season for Caring funds help hundreds of other families through the selected nonprofit agencies.

Last year, Season for Caring raised more than $840,000 to help the community. On Nov. 26, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families who need your help, but first, we take a look back at the families from last year and share how they are doing.

At Art Bra Austin in June, Deloris Field holds up an image of her son, Connor, and says that she owes her all to him. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Fields has returned to the hospital recently, but she was able to walk the runway at Art Bra Austin in June. She also was able to have some of the damage done by cancer treatments repaired to her teeth through a donation of dental care from Capital Area Dental Foundation.

To make a donation to Season for Caring, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Where are they now? Ashley McGill

Ashley McGill, 31, has been on disability insurance from her job after a head injury from a car accident. She continues to see doctors and hopes for a treatment that will allow her to return to work.

 

Gifts donated by the community at Grisham Middle School take up a much of the living room in the apartment where Ashley McGill lives with her children, Preston Mao and Alyanna McGill-Mao. Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Ashley McGill was part of the Statesman Season for Caring program last year. Every year, the Statesman tells the story of 12 families who have been nominated to the program by local nonprofit organizations. We invite the community and local businesses to donate a gift of money or goods or services on the families’ wish lists. Donations are given to the featured families first, and then, every year, Season for Caring funds help hundreds of other families through the selected nonprofit agencies.

Last year, Season for Caring raised more than $840,000 to help the community. On Nov. 26, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families who need your help, but first, we take a look back at the families from last year and share how they are doing.

Season for Caring, McGill says, “was such a major help and such a relief to be able to have the assistance I did have. It was a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders so I could breathe.”

Her family got to light the Christmas tree at the Driskill Hotel and stay the night. They also were surrounded by love and Christmas presents when Grisham Middle School completed their wish list.

Season for Caring also helped keep a roof over the family’s head at times when her disability payment didn’t arrive. She also is finally able to sleep in a bed again. Factory Mattress donated an adjustable bed to her that allows her to sleep with her head propped up.

To make a donation to Season for Caring, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Where are they now? Francisco Zuñiga-Echeverria

Francisco Zuñiga-Echeverria, 29, is also in school in a pastry and culinary arts program. He grew up in foster care after his parents died and was then homeless

Saleem Assaf of Better Hearing Center of Austin fits Francisco Zuñiga-Echeverria for hearing aids. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Zuñiga-Echeverria was part of the Statesman Season for Caring program last year. Every year, the Statesman tells the story of 12 families who have been nominated to the program by local nonprofit organizations. We invite the community and local businesses to donate a gift of money or goods or services on the families’ wish lists. Donations are given to the featured families first, and then, every year, Season for Caring funds help hundreds of other families through the selected nonprofit agencies.

Last year, Season for Caring raised more than $840,000 to help the community. On Nov. 26, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families who need your help, but first, we take a look back at the families from last year and share how they are doing.

One of the things he really wanted was a green scooter. He was able to get one, though it has needed repairs at times. He also was able to get new hearing aids from Better Hearing Center of Austin and eyeglasses from Northwest Hills Eye Care.

“Things I got made my life much easier,” he says. “I have my own transport (kind of) and I am able to hear slightly better, and see well, so it made an impact to be more independent.”

 

To make a donation to Season for Caring, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

Where are they now? Maricela Garcia

Maricela Garcia, 43, will begin school in January to become a certified nursing assistant. This will help her support her son, Raymond, 10, who has Renpenning syndrome, which causes intellectual disabilities.

Maricela Garcia cares for her son Raymond Alejandro Martinez-Garcia at their apartment. JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Garcia was part of the Statesman Season for Caring program last year. Every year, the Statesman tells the story of 12 families who have been nominated to the program by local nonprofit organizations. We invite the community and local businesses to donate a gift of money or goods or services on the families’ wish lists. Donations are given to the featured families first, and then, every year, Season for Caring funds help hundreds of other families through the selected nonprofit agencies.

Last year, Season for Caring raised more than $840,000 to help the community. On Nov. 26, we’ll introduce you to 12 new families who need your help, but first, we take a look back at the families from last year and share how they are doing.

This year, Garcia was able to learn how to drive and received a car through Season for Caring.

“It was beautiful,” she says of what the program did for her family. “Everything I need for Raymond, I got. Thank you. Thank you.”

To make a donation to Season for Caring, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring.