Season for Caring raises close to $580,000, gives out first grants

Monday is a big day in Season for Caring land. Our nonprofit agency partners will be receiving their first grants, which the agencies will use to help families this holiday season as well as take care of some of the featured families’ priority needs.

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

Since Season for Caring launched this year, the community has donated $459,074.60 in monetary donations. This includes the $100,000 matching grant from the Sheth family, a $25,000 donation from Whataburger, $34,011 in profits from Dec. 9’s  Giving Back Day at P. Terry’s Burger Stand, and $6,025 from Sunday’s Cookies for Caring at the Driskill Hotel.

The community also has given more than $120,000 in in-kind donations so far. With $579,074.60 worth of donations raised so far, Season for Caring is on track to have a very good year.

Since 1999, Season for Caring has donated more than $11 million to nonprofit organizations. They use the funds all year long for basic needs for their clients — food, shelter, clothing, medical care, transportation. Agencies that used to always say “No” to requests, can now say “Yes” to their clients.

This year, the Statesman selected these agencies and families:

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• Opportunities for Williams & Burnet Counties, Johnson family: Jazmyne Johnson, 243, 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.

• 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.

Make a donation by going online to statesman.com/seasonforcaring, or clip out the coupon in the paper each day. You can also click on each family’s story and see what the needs are for that family and contact the family’s agency directly.