A few thoughts on giving to wrap up the month

By Leah – December 30, 2011

The month is winding down, and the new AFM has hit the stands.  December’s issue focused on giving, and it seems appropriate to take one more look at a few charitable items before moving on to the new year.

While every race or event doesn’t have to benefit a charity, it’s nice when one does.  The Austin Turkey Trot, held annually on Thanksgiving Day, raised $260,000 for Caritas of Austin.  On December 21, ThunderCloud Subs gave the local charity a check for 100 percent of the race proceeds.

The Turkey Trot has been around for 21 years and, over that time, $1.51 million dollars have been donated to Caritas.  The money raised this year will provide rent assistance to almost 800 families, helping keep them in their homes.  It will go towards preparing 55,000 meals in the Caritas community kitchen, which serves hot meals every weekday from their location at 611 Neches.  Caritas also provides education and services to help vulnerable people, such as the homeless, working poor, and documented refugees.  Those in need can reach out to the nonprofit for help with food (either at the kitchen or through take-home groceries) or funds; Caritas is a service created to help fill the gap between the poor and public assistance benefits.  They even provide education for folks to help them better manage their personal finances.

“We’re privileged to make this contribution to Caritas on behalf of the almost 20,000 participants, 80 ThunderCloud Subs staff and more than 500 volunteers who make this event and donation possible,” said Mike Haggerty, co-owner of ThunderCloud Subs.

With the new year around the corner, you may need a new calendar.  It’s nice to combine utilitarian purchases with charitable giving;  The Gazelle Foundation has a calendar that fits the bill.  If you’re part of the Austin Fit Magazine Distance Challenge, you ran the Run for the Water 10-miler.  That race benefited the Gazelle Foundation, inspired by local runner, author, and coach Gilbert Tuhabonye (chosen by AFM readers as the “Best of” in this year’s “Runner” category), which works to provide clean water to people living in Tuhabonye’s country of origin, Burundi.  In the summer of 2011, Foundation and Gazelle team members took a trip to Burundi to see, first-hand, the results of their fundraising–the “Work for the Water” trip.  Local runner, philanthropist, and photographer Lynne Dobson captured the beauty of Burundi as well as recorded images of past and current projects.  The calendars are on sale at the Gazelle Foundation online store, and proceeds from sales go towards funding more water projects in Burundi.

There was a big retail event in Austin last month:  the Running Event.  It was fun to attend and get a good look at all the gadgets and cool apparel that will be available in our running stores in 2012.  There was one table, however, that stood out for me.  Soles4Souls is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people who don’t have shoes.  Their motto is “changing the world, one pair at a time.”  According to fundraising representative Kelly Modena, Soles4Souls distributed 17,000,000 pairs of shoes in 2005.  That’s any kind of shoe you can imagine:  athletic, dress, men’s, women’s, kids, you name it.  There is really no type of shoe they won’t take.  Why is it important to provide shoes?  For many, shoes are the gateway to an education; even an impoverished country like Haiti, children are not allowed to attend school if they don’t have shoes.  Modena stated that one dollar allows Soles 4 Soles to ship a pair of shoes.  This is literally a charity where every dollar makes a difference.  You can clean out your closet as part of your New Year’s resolution to get organized and donate your shoes, or you can collect your spare change and make a monetary donation.  Either way, you can make a difference with just a little bit of effort.

 
 

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