In a surprise move, Austin’s Care Communities has announced that it will stop providing free support for those living with HIV or cancer in Central Texas.

Star Furniture store manager John Chronister, right, and Z Blair, a social worker with the Care Communities, arrange gifts that were part of the American-Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign in 2014. Andy Sharp/For the American-Statesman.

The mid-size nonprofit that operated with an annual budget of almost $600,000 according to GuideStar.org sent out a message Monday afternoon saying it would close its doors Oct. 31 after 26 years of coordinating volunteers, staff and care partners for the seriously ill.

“It has been our esteemed honor to serve those in our community who have faced serious illness alone or with little to no support and who have extremely limited resources,” shares Executive Director Mary Hearon in a statement. “We have had the great privilege of workign with phenomenal volunteers and outstanding staff who have given of themselves to ease the pain and suffering of others.”

It was found in 1991 as part of the Central Texas AIDS Interfaith Network, then became its own nonprofit in the mid-1990s. Care was extended to cancer patients in the mid-200os, which is when it took on the name Care Communities.

Its close nonprofit partners have included AIDS Services of Austin, Breast Cancer Resource Center, Family Eldercare and Meals on Wheels Central Texas. It has also received help from the St. David’s Foundation, Shivers Foundation, Stillwater Foundation, Donald D. Hammill Foundation, Ilsa Carroll Turner Friendship Trust and Certoma Club, along with the Hill Country Ride for AIDS and the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride.

For several years, Care Communities was also part of the American-Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign.