$1.4 million raised, but some needs remain

Gunther Aguado hugs Bill Evans just outside of the Caritas of Austin offices right before Christmas. Evans gave a 2006 Toyota Highlander to Aguado, who had been homeless last year.

The widower who donated his late husband’s car so that a formerly homeless man could get a fresh start with a car that was “driven with love.”

The teacher who asked her husband instead of giving her something for Christmas to give a musical keyboard to a teen, whose family has been homeless on and off in the last five years.

The couple who celebrated a love of soccer by buying new cleats for a kid born in Congo, who grew up in a refugee camp making his own soccer balls out of scraps.

“Honestly it was my favorite Christmas gift to shop for, and I am so happy we could help!” the anonymous donor wrote.

These are some of the small stories of giving during the 22nd Statesman Season for Caring program.

The big story is what the community has been able to do together in a year of unprecedented need.

Françoise Irankunda positions a new chair from Austin's Couch Potatoes. The family's previous furniture was passed down to them when they lived in shelters when they first came to the United States in 2015 from Burundi.

Season for Caring has raised $1,299,157 in monetary donations and $114,502 in in-kind donations of goods and services. The total raised, $1,413,659 million, is the most raised in any single year. It’s the fourth year the program has raised more than $1 million.

The Sheth family launched the program on Nov. 29 with a $250,000 match. The community responded with more than $405,000 donated by Christmas. 

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