Help complete Ashour family’s Season for Caring wish list

This week we’re highlighting the remaining wishes of the families featured in the 2017 Season for Caring program.

Last month, Syrian refugee Sami Khalil Ashour, 48, and his family have settled into their new apartment with furniture from Star Furniture and Chair Whimsy. He is driving a new minivan from the AeLK Foundation and Apple Leasing, and his children have clothes and toys from Star Furniture and bikes built and donated by the employees at Waste Connections.

The Ashour family, refugees from Syria, moved into their new three-bedroom apartment in December.   Cindy Zavala, left, operations manager for Star Furniture watches Jana, 3, and the family opens gifts from the company. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Ashour family has had many of their needs taken care of through donations. They do need driver’s education for wife Ahlam Fouad Al Battal as well as gift cards for gas and groceries, help with rent and utilities assistance, laptops and a printer, and a PlayStation4 with games.

To find out more or donate an item, contact Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, Ext. 7, interfaithtexas.org.

To make a monetary donation, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring and click on Donate to Season for Caring. Donations will be accepted through Jan. 31.

Help complete Marcelo Gracia’s Season for Caring wish list

This week we’re highlighting the remaining wishes of the families featured in the 2017 Season for Caring program.

Marcelo Gracia, 45, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, received many things on his wish list. At the end of January, he and his son Gael Gracia Garcia, 24, will move into a first-floor apartment. This will allow Gracia to get the motorized wheelchair with head support that he needs. Britt Sitzes from National Seating & Mobility is helping coordinate that with the ALS lending closet.

Gael Guadalupe Gracia Garcia raised his father, Marcelo Gracia’s head after it fell forward. Soon he will have an electric wheelchair that will have a head support to keep his head up.  RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

He also now has in-home care from BrightStar Care, which allows his son to go to work without worry. BrightStar Care is covering half of the expenses of care for the rest of Gracia’s life. Hospice Austin, which nominated the Gracia family to Statesman Season for Caring, will use Season for Caring funds to cover the other half. BrightStar Care also offered to pay for Gracia Garcia to become a certified nursing assistant and have a future job with the home health care company.

Gracia needs help with living expenses, and care expenses, and a Spanish-speaking attorney to do his will. Gracia Garcia would like a tablet. They also need an accessible van or a wheelchair lift for their existing van.

To find out more or donate an item, contact Hospice Austin, 512-342-4726, hospiceaustin.org.

To make a monetary donation, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring and click on Donate to Season for Caring. Donations will be accepted through Jan. 31.

Season for Caring raises more than $767,000 for local families

On Thanksgiving weekend, we shared the stories of 12 local families, who have incredible stories of resilience in tough times. We asked you to make a difference in their lives.

Many of you have opened up your hearts and given something of yourself, something you no longer needed, purchased something new or have given a monetary donation.

This year, Statesman Season for Caring has raised $592,727.86 in monetary donations and another $175,125 in in-kind donations of goods and services. With $767,852.86, the 2017 Season for Caring is now the third best program year. We are about $73,000 away from having the best Season for Caring ever. Since 1999, Season for Caring has given $11.3 million to the local community.

The Ashour family, refugees from Syria, moved into their new three-bedroom apartment. Cindy Zavala, left, Operations Manager for Star Furniture watches Jana, 3, and the family opens gifts from the company. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

We have so much more to do this year and you have more time to give.

Each year, the Season for Caring partner agencies are tasked to help the featured families’ needs first but then help hundreds of other families  they serve with basic needs such as rent, utilities, groceries, clothing, medical bills and transportation. Season for Caring is these nonprofit organizations’ emergency fund for their clients.

Season for Caring donations will be accepted through Jan. 31 for this year.

You can make your donation online at statesman.com/seasonforcaring. Click the Donate to Season for Caring tab. Or you can find a coupon in the paper each day to mail in your donation or mail it to Austin Community Foundation c/o Statesman Season for Caring, 4315 Guadalupe St., Suite 300, Austin, TX 78751.

Britt Sitzes of National Seating and Mobility shows Haji Mada how to operate his new power chair. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

This Christmas season has been an amazing one for the families featured in Statesman Season for Caring program.

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen Syrian refugees the Ashour family get a new car from AeLK Foundation and Apple Leasing, new bikes from Waste Connections, and a new apartment that was fully furnished by Star Furniture and Chair Whimsy.

We’ve watched the Ríos Marcial family also move into a new apartment furnished by Season for Caring donations.

We’ve seen new beds delivered by Factory Mattress to the featured families, including Marcelo Gracia. We’ve watched him get home care from BrightStar Care and see his son get the opportunity to become a certified nursing assistant and have a future job with BrightStar Care.

Nakayla, left, Nyliah and Nehemiah Johnson stand at the edge of a table full of gifts for them at Grisham Middle School. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

We’ve watched the Grisham Middle School Grizzlies donate more than $8,500 worth of gifts and gift cards to Jazmyne Johnson and her three children.

We went on a shopping spree at Academy with the Matias family and got to see their new accessible bathroom provided by Austin Facility Services.

We’ve seen Nikki Jones and her daughter Adeline light the Driskill Christmas tree.

We’ve seen Lyric Wardlow and all the families get free dental care from Capital Area Dental Foundation.

Steve Shannon of Waste Connections looks on as Donovan Clay, 16, smiles as he about to ride his new bike from Waste Connections. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

We’ve watched Donovan Clay ride a new bike from Waste Connections and visited his mom Bertha Foster, who returned home from a month in the hospital and rehabilitation center. 

We’ve seen the Sherwood family take their fur babies to the Firehouse Animal Center, which offered care to all the families with pets this year. 

We’ve watch 9-year-old Haji Mada try out his new electric wheelchair from National Seating & Mobility and Quantum Rehab, while his mom Hawa Hassan watched, knowing that her child no longer had to crawl on the floor to get around.

We’ve been thrilled to learn that Joyce and Kenneth Marvel no longer have bed bugs and will meet next week with CG&S to talk about remodeling their condominium into a more accessible one.

We’ve also seen how readers reached out to 10-year-old Luis Aguilar Negron with wrestling-themed presents while his sisters Samanta, 25, and Mayleth, 18, got a computer and printer for school.

Many of the families still have needs. Check this list and see if there is something on it that you can give:

The Negron family celebrates after decorating the Dia de los Muertos altar at their home. The Negrons lost their father and husband, Jose, and an uncle in a car accident last year. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Negron family, who lost their father to a car accident last December, need help with tuition assistance, a used car and car repairs to their existing car, living room furniture and a math tutor for Luis. Foundation Communities, 512-610-7391, foundcom.org.

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

Joyce and Kenneth Marvel, who both have intellectual disabilities and are 74 and 65, need more in-home care for Joyce, who uses a walker, a medical alert system and new all furniture. Family Eldercare, 512-450-0844, familyeldercare.org.

Alden Sherwood participates in an archery tournament at Double G Archery in Georgetown. Suzanne Cordeiro/For American-Statesman

The Sherwood family — Mom Trisha, 40, who has multiple sclerosis; son Alden, 16, who is in a wheelchair after brain cancer; and son Jacob, 13, who is on the autism spectrum — needs an accessible apartment, an assistance dog, help with rent and utilities, grocery store gift cards, art therapy and equine therapy, clothing, and gift cards to the movies or Game Stop. Any Baby Can, 512-454-3743, anybabycan.org.

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

Jazmyne Johnson, 24, needs a car to transport her children to and from their HeadStart program, an apartment near Hutto and tuition assistance for her to go to college to pursue a career in biotechnology. Opportunities for Williamson and Burnet Counties, 512-763-1400, opportunitiesforwbc.org

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

Bertha Foster, 43, who is paralyzed from a series of strokes, needs assistance getting a large apartment so she can be moved out of bed more easily as well as a car for Donovan and driver’s education, and a cellphone for him and service. Meals on Wheels Central Texas at 512-476-6325, Ext. 159 or at www.mealsonwheelscentraltexas.org.

Lyric Wardlow works at Playland Skate Center. Wardlow spent most of her childhood homeless.
Erika Rich for American-Statesman

Lyric Wardlow, 19, who grew up homeless, needs tuition assistance, health insurance, gas cards and bus passes, cat food and litter, a gym membership, camping supplies, a cell phone and service, a bedroom furniture set, lamps, dishes and glasses, a vacuum, towels and bedding, gift cards for books and home supplies. LifeWorks, 512-735-2400, lifeworksaustin.org

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

Hawa Hassan30, who grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya, needs pots and pans and kitchen utensils, bedding, dressers, after-school tutoring for all the kids, a minivan with a wheelchair lift and driver’s education, and everything for a new baby. Caritas of Austin, 512-646-1277, caritasofaustin.org.

Lance Stumpf, the general manager at the Driskill, helps Adeline Jones, 6, as she lights the Driskill tree. Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Nikki Jones, 35, who has common variable immune deficiency, still has many things on her list including a playhouse or swingset for Adeline, a backyard awning, foundation repair, a dish washer, toothbrushes, colorful adhesive bandages, help with medical bills, a small pet for Adeline, food delivery service, gym membership, and gift cards. Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757, wondersandworries.org.​

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

Matias family — Margarita, 72, who has ovarian cancer, Jessie, 60, who had kidney cancer, and son Ricky, 46, who has cerebral palsy and testicular cancer — need a wheelchair lift for their truck, ceiling fans, microwave, smartphones, Tejano music CDs, an electrical wiring upgrade, and a new window. CareBox Program, 512-296-2180, careboxprogram.org.

The Ashour family, refugees from Syria, sit at their new dining room table from Chair Whimsy.
RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Ashour family has had many of their needs taken care of. They do need driver’s education for Al Battal. Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, Ext. 7, interfaithtexas.org.

Rogaciano Rios Marcial, right, watches three of his children explore the family’s new three-bedroom apartment. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Rogaciano Ríos Marcial, 46, who lost his wife in May and is raising his four children alone, needs a TV stand, renter’s insurance, kids books and bookshelves, clothes for 10-year-old Alma, new shoes for all the children, a computer and Internet. Boys & Girls Club of the Austin area at 512-444-7199 or visit bgcaustin.org.

Gael Guadalupe Gracia Garcia raised his father, Marcelo Gracia’s head after it fell forward. RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Marcelo Gracia, 45, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease, needs help with living expenses, more care expenses, a tablet and wireless printer for his son, Gael, who is his main caregiver. Hospice Austin, 512-342-4726, hospiceaustin.org.

 

 

 

Season for Caring now more than $265,000 in donations

Deloris Fields kissed her son, Connor Guenther after picking him up from daycare. Fields was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer on Dec. 4, 2015, the day after her son was born. RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Deloris Fields kissed her son, Connor Guenther after picking him up from daycare. Fields was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer on Dec. 4, 2015, the day after her son was born. RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Eighteen days into Season for Caring, we have crossed the $250,000 mark and have now raised $265,059.33. Donors have also given almost $70,000 in in-kind donations.

There is still plenty of time to give to Season for Caring and we need your help now more than ever. Wednesday, we received a matching grant of up to $100,000 for the Sheth family. Now through Dec. 27, they will match your donation. That means whatever you give can do so much more.

Give at statesman.com/seasonforcaring or clip out your coupon that runs daily in the paper and send in your check to Statesman Season for Caring, P. O. Box 50066, Austin, TX 78763-0066.

This year, the 18th Season for Caring, donations have come in big and small ways. People ate at P. Terry’s on Saturday and raised $31,640. People bought tins of cookies at the Driskill Hotel for Cookies for Caring on Sunday and raised $8,000. People bid on an auction from Statesman advertisers and raised $7,245. Whataburger launched the campaign with a $25,000 gift.

They also have donated in-kind donations in big and small ways. All month, the art and theater students at Grisham Middle School have been collecting donations for the McGill family. We’ll be with them on Sunday when they receive their gifts. A local Girl Scout Troop dropped of Home Depot gift cards to the King family on Saturday. Also on Saturday, we watched Waste Connections put together bikes for the Noheli family. We’ll watch the kids ride their bikes on Friday.

We’ve been to two of the dozen bed deliveries with Factory Mattress. It’s amazing how happy a family’s first new bed can make them. Wednesday, we met with SpawGlass to talk about the remodeling effort they will do to help the Martínez De La Paz have an accessible home for their boys who are in wheelchairs. Today, we’re heading to Northwest Hills Eye Care, where Francisco Zuñiga-Echeverria will receive an eye exam and new glasses and then meet with Better Hearing Center of Austin to get fitted for new hearing aids. 

Maricela Garcia cares for her son Raymond Alejandro Martinez-Garcia, 9,  at their apartment. JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Maricela Garcia cares for her son Raymond Alejandro Martinez-Garcia, 9, at their apartment. JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

We’ve also met with Dr. Kent Macaulay who set a course of dental treatment for Deloris Fields. All the families who needed dental care are getting it through Capital Area Dental Foundation. And we’ve seen Austin’s Couch Potatoes pick out furniture for Sheila King’s family.  We’re also looking forward to meeting with Star Furniture next week when they deliver presents to the Vasquez Olais family. They’ll be donating new furniture when the family moves into their new apartment in January.

Many families still have a lot of wishes still to be met. Your in-kind donation or your monetary donation can help do that, as well as help hundreds of other families through our nonprofit agency partners.

Read their stories and see some of their wishes:

  • Ashley McGill and her family’s life forever changed when their car was hit from behind. She is unable to work because of debilitating headaches. She needs car repairs, a living room sectional, a standing freezer, new glasses for Preston and help with medical bills, rent and car insurance. To find out more about the McGill family or fulfill one of their needs, call Wonders & Worries at 512-329-5757 or visit wondersandworries.org.
  • Jacob Rodriguez-Lopez, 26, and his 4-year-old daughter, Emely, live without wife and mother, Adriana, who died in August from cervical cancer. Emely, who has Down syndrome, was diagnosed Friday with leukemia. More tests are being done, but she is starting chemotherapy. Their needs have grown as this new diagnosis makes his ability to work uncertain. They have no family in Austin. They need help with gift cards and financial donations to get them through her treatments. To help, call Hospice Austin at 512-342-4726 or visit hospiceaustin.org.
  • Sheila King, 49, and her family lost her 15-year-old son, Austen, to suicide in July. Two months later, his father, Harrell King, 61, and his grandmother, Janie Chandler, 66, died from cancer. The Kings have many needs, but their largest is home remodeling, appliances and gift cards to Home Depot. To help, call CareBox Program at 512-296-2180 or visit careboxprogram.org.
  • The family members of Rosalba Martínez-López have been heartbroken by the loss of their mother and grandmother, who died Dec. 2 from cervical cancer. She was 37. Now her four children and granddaughter are trying to figure out what life will be like without her. They need help with rent, a reliable used car, day care and tuition. To help, call Care Communities at 512-459-5883 or visit thecarecommunities.org.
  • 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. Rosalba Martínez-López, who has stage IV cervical cancer. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
    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 in October. Rosalba Martínez-López died on Dec. 2.
    RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

    Deloris Fields, 27, found out her breast cancer had spread to her bones the day after her son, Connor, was born last December. She needs a first-floor apartment, a laptop, printer and external hard drive, a dresser, coffee table and lamps. To help, call Breast Cancer Resource Center at 512-817-9775 or visit bcrc.org.

  • Luis Olais, 21, has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which daughter, Delilah, 3, also has. He and his partner, Keila Vasquez, 19, are waiting to hear if their son, 3-month-old Noah, has it as well. It affects connective tissue and joints and limits the kind of work that Olais can do. They need help with rent, child care, laptops and cosmetology school tuition. To help, call SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone) Austin at 512-590-3114 or visit safeaustin.org.
  • Liliana De La Paz, 29, and Juan Martínez Domínguez, 28, have two sons with spinal muscular atrophy type 2. Both 9-year-old Juan Diego and 2-year-old Jesús use motorized wheelchairs; Juan Diego is on a ventilator. They need electric blankets, pillows and clothing. To help, call Any Baby Can at 512-454-3743 or visit anybabycan.org.
  • Maricela Garcia, 42, is worried that her son Raymond, 9, who has Renpenning syndrome, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, isn’t getting the physical, occupational and speech therapy he needs. She needs rent and utilities assistance; pots and pans; driving lessons and an iPad that Raymond can use to communicate. To help, call Foundation Communities at 512-610-7391 or visit foundcom.org.
  • Uliya Fazal Ahmad, 48, who came with her five children to the United States this year from Afghanistan, needs help with medical care for a broken ankle. Her family needs a bigger kitchen table and six chairs, vocational training and English tutoring, pots and pans, and lamps. To help, call Caritas of Austin at 512-646-1277 or visit caritasofaustin.org.
  • Terry Markland, 65, has decades-old injuries to his feet and needs knee replacements. Medicare will cover some, but not all, of his recovery. He needs help with utility bills, clothing and transportation to church. To help, call Family Eldercare at 512-450-0844 or visit familyeldercare.org.
  • Issa Noheli, 61, looks down at his 1-year-old granddaughter Vanessa during a walk with his family outside of their apartment in south Austin. The Noheli family are refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo who have resettled in Austin. Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN
    Issa Noheli, 61, looks down at his 1-year-old granddaughter Vanessa during a walk with his family outside of their apartment in south Austin. The Noheli family are refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo who have resettled in Austin. Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

    Issa Noheli, 61, and his family came to Austin after living for 17 years in refugee camps in Central Africa. He lost his leg in an attack on a camp. He needs a prosthetic leg, but the family of 11 also needs a gently used car, a washer, a dryer, English tutoring and a vacuum cleaner. To help, call Interfaith Action of Central Texas at 512-386-9145 or visit interfaithtexas.org

  • Francisco Zuñiga-Echeverria, 28, grew up in foster care and needed hearing aids and eyeglasses, but Lucid Hearing, Better Hearing Center of Austin and Northwest Hills Eye Care have made sure he has what he needs. He also would like allergy testing. Also on his list is a green moped scooter to get around town, help with school, alert devices for the hearing-impaired, culinary classes and gift cards. To help, call LifeWorks at 512-735-2473 or visit lifeworksaustin.org.