Fiesta of Caring provides fun, food and opportunity to contribute
Spring has arrived with all its energy and beauty. In the spirit of the season, Fiesta of Caring features a dazzling whirl of music, dancing, auctions, and fajitas on Saturday, May 4th, at Schwertner Ranch Event Center. Hosted by The Caring Place (TCP) for the fourth consecutive year, Fiesta is the nonprofit’s signature fundraiser, a fun evening befitting their slogan, “Doing more great things together!”
Serving the Georgetown area for more than two and a half decades, TCP works year-round to assist the community’s most vulnerable residents, yet many folks know the name without knowing TCP’s scope of outreach. Although 2012 requests for help remained consistent with those in 2011, the number of people in need soared between 2008 and mid-2011. Economic downturn brought many first-time applicants who had never been in financial crisis before. Even with demand stabilizing, those coming to TCP now far exceed numbers for 2008. Last year, 2,868 families applied for assistance. F-I-E-S-T-A spells out an overview of TCP’s impact on their lives.
F represents food. Through five programs, The Caring Place provided over 358 tons of food, translating to nearly 597,000 meals. TCP depends on annual food drives like the 100 Grand Campaign in November/ December and the postal system’s upcoming Stamp Out Hunger collection (second Saturday in May). Partnerships with Capital Area Food Bank and HEB are also crucial for food supplies. The Food Pantry is the largest program, with a retail value of over $420,000; qualified families receive an order every thirty days. Fresh Food for Families, bags of produce distributed on first, third, and fifth Monday mornings, has no eligibility requirements. Healthy Options for the Elderly (HOPE) provides an additional supplemental monthly order for seniors 55 and older. Our Daily Bread distributes day-old bakery products from HEB. Finally, over 600 families enjoyed HEB Holiday Meal Gift Cards from TCP.
I is for immediate, intermediate medical assistance, perhaps help with prescriptions, glasses, a doctor’s visit, or special devices. TCP assisted 566 people in this way last year.
E means everyday necessities, like clothing or household items. More than 3,300 clients received debit cards redeemable for basic items at The Shops at The Caring Place. Such necessities are separate from the Coats for Kids program.
S stands for shelter for nearly 1,100 families who needed help for rent or mortgage payments or for utility bills. TCP partnered with City of Georgetown’s Good Neighbor Fund to help with utility bills.
T is for transportation. It’s hard to get to work or appointments if the car won’t run, so TCP helped nearly 200 families with emergency transportation assistance.
A represents client advocates, knowledgeable, caring volunteers who coordinate services in the most beneficial way and help with paperwork. Advocates like Kerstin Cochran know the poignant stories and that those needing help are never just a number.
The value of TCP’s help? Priceless. The actual dollar amounts? Significant. The need for community support? Ongoing. An opportunity to help? Fiesta of Caring on May 4th from 5:30 to 10 p.m.