Many of the children featured in this year’s Statesman Season for Caring charity program had tablets or laptops on their lists of wishes. Their parents added more pressing, practical things such as rent assistance or a reliable used car, clothing and bedding, furniture or washers and dryers.
An anonymous donor is making sure that all the families have a new laptop for Christmas. The couple is donating up to $25,000 worth of Dell laptops to Season for Caring.
"We wish to stay anonymous and just would like the families to enjoy their holidays," the donor wrote in an email.
The laptops will help the parents, too. Many, like Alicia Gonzales, 40, want to improve their job possibilities by going to school. Gonzales is one semester away from becoming a nurse. Others, like Maria Hekmati, 42, are strengthening their English fluency. She and her husband, Ahmed Kambiz Hekmati, came to the U.S. from Afghanistan after helping aid agencies from the U.S.
One special computer will help Eden Welply, 25, who became quadriplegic after being hit by a car in February. Her laptop will be ideal for voice activation and programs to design music.
Each of the families featured in Season for Caring have been nominated by a local nonprofit organization. Donations to the program fulfill the featured families’ wish lists first and then help other families served by the nonprofits throughout the year.
For many of the parents featured, a big wish was for their children to experience a holiday that they would not be able to give them.
The Hekmati children, Kamal, 14, Kabir, 12, Komel, 9, and Mehr, 3, love music and wanted two ukuleles. They also wanted board games and an XBox or Play Station 4. (Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, interfaithtexas.org)
The Gonzales children, AJ, 6, Ezra, 4, and Felix, 3, love anything with "Baby Shark," "Paw Patrol," "Toy Story" or anything with wheels. (Capital IDEA, 512-457-8610, capitalidea.org)
The Overton children, Mayken, 15, Kafry, 5, Saben, 3, and Greeley, 6 months, have dealt with many medical challenges, including a blood disorder and a malformation affecting the brain. They would like baseball gear, a batting cage membership, baseball camps or lessons, YMCA activities, equine therapy, noise-canceling headphones and gift cards to Target. (Any Baby Can, 512-454-3743, anybabycan.org)
The Babiker children, Sajeda, 11, Mosbah, 9, Mohammed, 7, and Layal, 7, came here two years ago from Egypt. They would like soccer balls, digital cameras, makeup, nail polish, Spider-Man toys, ballet classes and ballet gear, PlayStation 4 with sports games, a doll and cooking DVDs. (Caritas of Austin at 512-646-1277, caritasofaustin.org)
Jesse Jakob Estala, 19, who is the son of Monica Beakley, had a traumatic brain injury 10 years ago. He would like trips to the beach and outings that can be enjoyed by people with limited sight. (Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757, wondersandworries.org)
The Karim children, Jannat, 7, Hashim, 6, and Mariyam, 2, are Rohingya refugees. They would like toys for the kids and gift cards to Target and Walmart. (Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145, interfaithtexas.org)
Amina Makamba’s triplets, who turn 3 on Sunday, would like dance classes; arts and crafts supplies; learning toys; magnetic blocks; movie theater gift cards; and gift cards to Carter and OshKosh. (Foundation Communities, 512-447-2026, foundcom.org)
Avia Moreno, 6, whose family has been on the brink of homelessness, would like an artificial Christmas tree with ornaments and garland. She also would like to go to a spa with her mom and grandmother, and a family gym membership, as well as gift cards to Walmart, Old Navy, JCPenney and Ross. (Foundation Communities, 512-447-2026, foundcom.org)
The Jackson children, Clarence 11, and Joseph, 10, had their Christmas layaway paid off by a donor. Grisham Middle School students are also gathering gifts for the family. The only things left on their wish list are car repairs or a reliable used car, a deep freezer and rent assistance. (Communities in Schools, 512-462-1771; ciscentraltexas.org)