Friday, December 19, 2014

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GIVING BACK

Every community has unsung heroes who dedicate their spare time to helping and improving the way of life for others. Giving Back is a segment that uncovers dynamic individuals in our community, giving them the recognition they deserve. Each week, TWC News' Jess Mitchel tells a new story of giving.





12/17/2014 01:43 PM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Retired Firefighter Gives Back with Senior Holiday Luncheon
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The kitchen at the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center was bustling during the Senior Holiday Luncheon.

"For many of them, it's the only Christmas holiday party they're going to get," Tim LaFuente said.

LaFuente used to cook all the food himself when he founded the event 12 years ago as an Austin firefighter. Back then, he was only able to serve 150 seniors.

Now he's retired, but with the help of 50 volunteers — mostly firefighters — he's able to serve 500.

"These folks paid my salary for 31 years," he said. "To be able to give back a little bit and see the joy on their faces, you can't describe that. It's heartwarming and brings a tear to my eye, at the same time to know you're making folks happy."

LaFuente gets most of the food donated and he's able to round up $2,400 to purchase gifts for a raffle.

"What a great event," LaFuente said. "How could you not want to do this? How could you not want to see all these smiling faces every year?"

Giving this hot meal is his way of saying thank you.

"As long as God gives me the strength and mental capacity to get up and do it every year, I will be here until I can't do it anymore," he said.


12/10/2014 08:24 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Inside Books Project Sends Literature to Texas Prisoners
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The Inside Books Project sends those books to prisoners here in Texas.

"We acknowledge that you are a worthwhile human being and you need access to literature like anybody else," Aems Emswhiler said.

That cause inspired Emswhiler to join the organization two years ago.

"What I love about books is the power in them, the power of narrative, cultural narrative, historical narrative, social and emotional narrative," Emswhiler said.

Giving those narratives is her way of giving back.

"We have access to a whole host of resources that those people don't, so we need to really recognize those privileges and be accountable to the people who don't and really just do our best to give back to them," Emswhiler said.

For more information on how to donate to the Inside Books Project, click here.


12/03/2014 07:43 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Nonprofit in Need of Christmas Sponsors
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A great way to give back this holiday season is to give groceries in addition to toys.

"I've been told by a lot of the school counselors that if these kids are not sponsored for Christmas, they will not have a Christmas," Tino Hernandez with Just Because Ministries of Hope said. "It's that bad of a situation."

Just Because Ministries of Hope is a nonprofit that was established in the 1990s to help families in need that didn't meet the requirements of other holiday support programs.

The organization is asking for volunteer sponsors to purchase about $35 to $50 worth of gifts for each child in the sponsored family and also donate a box of groceries.

"They can go online and request a family and we can send the information via Internet," Hernandez said.

Nearly 200 families still need a sponsor this year. In addition to donating to families, Just Because Ministries of Hope also helps Wounded Warriors, families of cancer patient and homeless teens.

"There's so many people, so many people in need," Hernandez said.

All donations need to be dropped off on Friday, Dec. 16 between 6 and 10 p.m. at Hernandez Middle School in Round Rock.

If you'd like to volunteer to be a sponsor, email Just Because Ministries of Hope at attinojbcp@aol.com or info@jbmhope.com with your name and what size family you would like to help.

Click here for more information about volunteering.


11/12/2014 07:51 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: NPSFL Teams Benefits 100 Club of Central Texas
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A good way to give back on a chilly day is by standing next to some flames and doing some cooking.

"We are cooking hamburgers right now to raise money for our semi-pro football team, which is the Central Texas Wolf Pack," Raul Carrillo said. "It's comprised of first responders."

Carrillo and others on the Central Texas Wolf Pack are part of the National Public Safety Football League, a full-contact league that raises money and awareness for various charities across the country.

"Instead of the players getting paid, whatever money we would get paid, we donate to our charities of our choice," Carrillo said. "All teams in the league are nonprofit."

Each team in the league supports a different charity. The Central Texas Wolf Pack chose the 100 Club of Central Texas, an organization that provides funds for the families of first responders hurt or killed in the line of duty.

The best part is that while working to help charities, members of the league also have a lot fun.

"It's great," Carrillo said. "It's competitive, but at the end of the game, we get together, and we have a good time after the game."


10/29/2014 07:45 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Save Austin's Cemeteries Seeks to Preserve History
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Many people may think that cemeteries are spooky are creepy, but they're also an important part of our history.

"Part of that history is the architecture and the beautiful artwork on these stones that are at risk," Dale Flatt with Save Austin's Cemeteries said.

Save Austin's Cemeteries is an organization working to preserve Austin's cemeteries. It started, Flatt says, because cemeteries have a need that the parks department can't fulfill.

"Myself and many others are working very hard to document the site and come up with a preservation plan for these areas," he said.

As former a City of Austin firefighter, Flatt says this is his way to give back to those who helped him while he was working.

"Now it's a way of giving back to the citizens who gave so much to me," he said. "And leaving something behind so future generations can enjoy it like we enjoy it."


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If you'd like to nominate someone to be featured in a TWCN Giving Back segment, send an email describing their qualifications and fill out this form:
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