Last week, under the lights of the Driskill Christmas Tree, the Greater Texas Credit Union presented a $2,500 check to Kevin Moreno and his family to go toward the family’s car payments.
The family was at the Driskill to light the tree as part of the Statesman Season for Caring program, which helps hundreds of families throughout the year through local nonprofit organizations. Moreno was nominated to the program by Foundation Communities.
Moreno, 23, who has supported his family since he was 16, was stunned at the donation and said he felt grateful that he could now free up money that would have gone toward car payments to pay for other needs.
The family’s story stood out to the credit union because of how young Moreno was when he took on the responsibility of lifting his family from the brink of homelessness after the incarceration and deportation of Moreno’s father. Without the father’s income, the family of five could no longer afford their North Austin apartment and lived in a friend’s one-room shed.
The credit union reviewed the family’s wish list and donated toward a need it felt could make a big difference, said Brandy Conway, Greater Texas Credit Union senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "For us, it’s about people helping people in our communities," she said.
Many of this year’s Season for Caring’s featured families have transportation needs on their list.
The Morenos need car repairs to their car as well as a second car, preferably an SUV to fit the family of five. Moreno hopes that he can soon pass his car down to his younger brother, Dylan, a University of Texas student, so that he can get to work and class easier.
"I just want him to live the life of a college student and not have to worry," Moreno said.
To find out more about the Moreno family or to fulfill one of their wish list items, contact Foundation Communities, 512-447-2026, foundcom.org.
Fatima Babiker, 33, needs a car to drive herself and her four kids as well as her cleaning supplies. She works for a house cleaning company and those supplies can not go on a city bus. (Caritas of Austin, 512-646-1277, caritasofaustin.org)
Monica Beakley, 47, who has stage 4 cancer in her lungs, brain and liver, needs bus passes to get to cancer treatment in Houston. (Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757; wondersandworries.org)
Ahmad Kambiz Hekmati, 42, who moved here from Afghanistan after his family was threatened by the Taliban for helping U.S. aid organizations, needs a second car that would allow him to take a daytime job while his wife, Maria, is in class improving her English skills. (Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, interfaithtexas.org)
Mohammad, 34, and Minatt Karim, 26, are Rohingya refugees originally from Myanmar. They need a car for their family of five and driving lessons for her. (Interfaith Action of Central Texas at 512-386-9145, interfaithtexas.org)
Kizzy Jackson, 38, who has two boys with special needs and moved here after flooding in Louisiana, needs car repairs or a newer car. (Communities in Schools, 512-462-1771; ciscentraltexas.org)
Amina Makamba, 34, needs a reliable vehicle for her triplet 2-year-old daughters. Makamba came to the U.S. almost three years ago from Congo. (Foundation Communities, 512-447-2026, foundcom.org)
Catherine and Eric Swieter need bus passes and gift cards to ridehailing services. Catherine, 65, is on hospice care for Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (Hospice Austin at 512-342-4700, hospiceaustin.org)
Eden Welply, 25, a musician who was hit by a car in February and is now quadriplegic, needs a car that is adapted to her abilities or needs her current car to be adapted. She needs driving lessons to learn to drive again and help paying off her current car loan. (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians — HAAM, 512-541-4226, myhaam.org)