In the six weeks since the Statesman launched its 20th Season for Caring on Nov. 25, we have been able to really change the lives of many of our 12 featured families. We moved Ernest Kimble, 53, who lived for decades in a motel, into an apartment; and Jennifer Tate, 47, and her son, Brennan, 7, left the recreational vehicle where they were living and moved into a house.

Home repairs are being done for four of our families, while Kevin Duroy, 39, and his children Leyton, 9, and Jayme, 12, are looking forward to building a new home with help from members of the Austin chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

As of Monday, readers have donated $687,867 in monetary donations and $219,329 in in-kind donations of goods and services. The total — $907,196 — makes this the second best year since the program began in 1999. In the 2017-18 season, readers donated $1,065,095 in monetary and in-kind donations.

There is still time to give. Donations will be accepted through Jan. 31, either online at or by sending checks made out to Statesman Season for Caring to Austin Community Foundation, c/o Statesman Season for Caring, 4315 Guadalupe St., Suite 300, Austin, TX 78751.

Donations go to help the featured families first, and then the local nonprofit partner agencies are able to help hundreds of other families with basic needs throughout the year. Season for Caring has given more than $12.5 million to our community.

All of the featured families still have items on their wish lists:

• Basil Seals, 42, and his daughters Beth, 16, and Sabrina, 18, who lost mom Emily to cervical cancer in November, need help with paying back bills, laptops for the girls and a gently used car. (CareBox Program, 512-296-2180,

• Mirtha Lugo, 53, has been working two jobs to give her daughters, Andrea, 15, and Giselle, 14, the education and stability she didn't have in Paraguay or when she first came to the United States. They need help with rent and utilities, as well as car insurance and gift cards for gas and groceries. Andrea would like to take driver's education classes, piano lessons and Japanese language lessons. Giselle would like drawing lessons, a stand mixer and an electric drawing tablet. They also need furniture, including a love seat, dressers, a desk and bookshelves. (Foundation Communities, 512-615-4758,

• Charles and Debra Simpson will have many of the needed repairs made to their mobile home, which flooded in the 2015 Halloween flood, thanks to volunteer Jon Wells and ABC Home & Commercial Services.  Apex Home Maintenance has donated flooring. They still need car repairs, a wheelchair lift for the car, hearing aids for Charles and eye exams. They also would like help paying for funeral arrangements for Charles, 77, who has congestive heart failure. (Hospice Austin, 512-342-4726,

• The Haroun family, which immigrated to Austin from Iraq in 2014, needs help with job skills training for mom Bushra, 46. Once her daughter Sara, 3, who has autism, is in school more, she'll be able to better support her family. Father Idris Haroun, 66, has knee injuries from his time in Sudan and Iraq and can no longer work. They need a gently used van, help paying off their travel loans, sheets, towels, curtains, rugs, a sewing machine, a small desk, dressers and a vacuum cleaner. (Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, ext. 7,

• Michael Gomez, 52, will soon see the downstairs of his house transformed by CG&S Design-Build to make it accessible to him. He lost both of his legs because of diabetes and kidney disease. The family needs help with adapting its car for use with prosthetics, car repairs, dressers, a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a washer, a dryer and a dog groomer. They also need drivers' education classes for their 17-year-old twins. (Meals on Wheels of Central Texas, 512-476-6325,

• The Tates need a washer and dryer, and refrigerator as well as a lawnmower and hedge trimmers for the new house. They also need car repairs and new tires, and after-school and summer programs for Brennan. (The SAFE Alliance; 512-267-7233;

• Diana Castro, 50, is working three jobs to care for her family. All are deaf. Son Marc, 9, has leukemia. Castro and her daughter Alyssa were treated to a mother-daughter day with shopping at Lilly Pulitzer, pedicures at Caesar's Nails & Spa, and lunch at Bakery Lorraine. They still need help with medical bills, rent, a washer, a dryer, a couch, a computer and a printer. (AnyBabyCan, 512-454-3743,

• Annie Colson, 81, is caring for her son Earl, 58, who had a stroke. Their bathroom will be remodeled by Simply Sold to be accessible to Earl, who uses a wheelchair. The exterior of their house is also being redone with a new roof, siding and windows from Austin Pro Construction and Sanders Roofing & Exteriors. Their home still needs flooring, wall repairs and ramps, and they also need help with car repairs for Annie Colson's niece, who cares for them both. (AGE of Central Texas, 512-451-4611,

• Jacqueline Murorunkwere and her five children now have two gently used cars and some new household items, thanks to Amplify Credit Union. In March, they'll move out of transitional housing for people who have experienced domestic violence and will need more furniture. (Caritas of Austin, 512-646-1277,

• Keith Desilets, who turns 41 on New Year's Day, has cerebral palsy and some developmental delays. The Westwood High School community, where he works as a groundskeeper, came through with donations as well as connecting him with car repairs and home repairs, including a new garage door from Precision Garage Door of Austin and an air conditioner from Service Wizard Air Conditioning & Heating. He has only a few things left on his wish list, including pest control and grooming for his dog. He also would like to take a vacation because he's never had one. (Family Eldercare, 512-450-0844,

• Ernest Kimble has had many of his needs met, including readers who stepped up to pay his rent for the year.  He cold use grocery store gift cards. (Community Action Inc. of Central Texas, 512-392-1161,

• Kevin Duroy, 39, and his children Leyton, 9, and Jayme, 12, who lost mom Trisha to cervical cancer in June, need furniture for their new home. (Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757,