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 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.

 

 

Statesman employees raise money for Season for Caring from book sale

The Statesman gets a lot of stuff sent to us — a lot of stuff — especially books from publishing companies. What do we do with it all?

First, we sell it to our employees to raise money for charity.

Then we donate the remaining items to Recycled Reads Bookstore.

On Friday, we raised $1,034 for Statesman Season for Caring, just by selling the stuff we aren’t using for $1 to $3.

What can your company do? Can you gather gifts for a Season for Caring family? Can you hold an auction of things you no longer need? Can you donate a good or service that you make or sell?

• To learn more about donating an item or a service, call 512-445-3590 or email community@statesman.com.

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

• Find more stories, videos and photos of all the families at statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

 

 

Last day to double your Season for Caring donation

Monday is the last day for the Sheth family to match your donation to Statesman Season for Caring. 

Bertha Foster shows her son, Donovan Clay, a picture on Facebook. She is partially paralyzed after a series of strokes. ANA RAMIREZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

This is the second year the Austin family has matched up to a $100,000 in donations from the community. Last year, the match inspired more than $164,000 in giving during the 10-day time period it was in effect. This year, we’re hoping for even more giving.

Go to Statesman.com/seasonforcaring and click the donate to Season for Caring tab to make your donation.

What will your donation do for local families? It will help the 12 featured families complete their wish lists, but it will also help hundreds of other families that are served by our nonprofit agency partners. Those agencies use Season for Caring funds for basic needs such as rent, utilities, medications, groceries and transportation.

Here’s who is being helped this year:

• 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, 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.

• 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.

To read the stories of these families and their wish lists, go to statesman.com/seasonforcaring. There you can make a monetary donation as well. You also can find a donation coupon on Page A8.

SEASON FOR CARING

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

• Find more stories, videos and photos of all the families at statesman.com/seasonforcaring.

• To learn more about donating an item or a service, call 512-445-3590 or email community@statesman.com.

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.