Last week, the Karim family got the first look at a 2010 Ford Focus that would become theirs. The gift came from an anonymous donor who decided to donate the car to a Season for Caring family and chose one nominated by Interfaith Action of Central Texas after learning more about the Austin nonprofit, which works with refugee families like the Karims.

Mohammad Karim, 35, his wife, Minatt, 27, and their children, Jannat, 7, Hashim, 6, and Mariyam, 2, are Rohingyan refugees from Myanmar.

The donor said a Bible verse from the first epistle of Peter — "As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace" — sums up why she wanted to give the car.

"It was a gift from (an) aunt 10 years ago, and it is a gift to a family in need now," the donor wrote in an email. "What better example can I set for my children than that?"

Each year, the American-Statesman tells the stories of 12 featured families through the Season for Caring program and then asks the community to give both monetary and in-kind donations like the Karim family’s new car. Once the featured families’ needs are met, the nonprofit agencies that nominated them help hundreds of other families throughout the year with basic needs like rent, utilities, groceries, medications and transportation.

Since Dec. 1, the program has raised $694,296 in monetary donations and $193,849 in in-kind donations, for a total of $888,145. It is now the third-best year in the 21-year history of the program. Donations will be collected through Jan. 31.

The Karims have latched onto the American dream. Mohammad was a restaurant dish washer, but this month, he got an opportunity to start driving a taxi. He’ll be working on his high school equivalency degree, which will allow him to apprentice in welding.

With only one car in the family, he has been juggling work with getting kids to school and Minatt to English classes, as well as taking his own English-improvement classes. It has left little time for sleep.

Minatt, who did not have access to schools when she was younger, has been isolated at home. She will be working on getting her driver’s license and then will be able to attend even more classes to learn English.

The Karims still have a couple of things on their wish list. The biggest: a washer and dryer. Minatt also would like to take driving lessons. For more information, contact Interfaith Action of Central Texas at 512-386-9145,

Many other Season for Caring-featured families also need help with transportation.

Fatima Babiker, 33, a mother of four kids, needs a car for the family. She works for a house cleaning company and those supplies cannot go on a city bus. She must rely on friends to take her to work. She could work more hours and better support her family if she had a car. (Caritas of Austin, 512-646-1277,

Kevin Moreno, 23, who has been the primary source of income for his brother, sister, mother and grandmother, needs car repairs as well as a second car. 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. (Foundation Communities, 512-447-2026,

Monica Beakley, 47, who has stage 4 cancer in her lungs, brain and liver, had her car stolen before Christmas. She needs a new car to take her son Jesse Jakob, 19, who has a brain injury, to school, as well as bus passes to get to cancer treatments in Houston. (Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757;

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,

Amina Makamba, 34, needs a reliable vehicle to transport her triplet 2-year-old daughters. Makamba came to the U.S. almost three years ago from Congo. (Foundation Communities, 512-447-2026,

Eden Welply, 25, a musician who was hit by a car in February, 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,

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;

Eric Swieter, 46, who lost his wife Catherine last week to kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, needs bus passes and gift cards to ride hailing services. (Hospice Austin at 512-342-4700,