Families hit hard by pandemic, illness need plumbing, remodeling work

A vacation from working as a hotel chef, followed by a stroke.

Cancer spreads to the brain and then his wife loses her job.

The music industry is falling silent because of the pandemic.

For three of the Statesman Season for Caring families, these are the permanent scars of 2020. It’s also why needed home repairs are so low on their list.

Each year, the Statesman Season for Caring program highlights the needs of 12 families nominated by local nonprofits. The needs of these families are first considered, and then the organizations use donations to help hundreds of other families with basic needs such as rent, supplies, transportation, and food.

More:Nelson Toala: Stroke, pandemic changed the life of the Driskill Hotel chef

More:Driskill’s hotel chef returns after a stroke to light the Christmas tree

Since this 22nd Season for Caring kicked off two weeks ago, Season for Caring has raised more than $ 185,000. Now, through Christmas, the Sheth family is raising up to $ 250,000.

Every year some families have home repairs on their list, and companies often come in to help with those repairs. That hasn’t happened this year.

Nelson Toala, 65, was known for looking after everyone at the Driskill Hotel, where he was a chef. When the pandemic broke out, he was on leave and then had a stroke so that he could not return to the kitchen. He and his wife Maria, 65, raise their two granddaughters Alexssandra (10) and Isabela (8).

For his safety, they need sanitary repairs to the kitchen and a renovation of the bathroom with a walk-in shower. (Meals on Wheels Central Texas, 512-476-6325, Mealsonwheelscentraltexas.org)

Aiden Salazar, 14, listens to his grandfather and shares stories about the hunting and fishing in their home in Elgin.  Cline's cancer prevented him from enjoying these hobbies.  It is also necessary to have your bathroom repaired for your safety.

More:Cline and Velma Meredith: Grandparents struggle after cancer, job loss

More:The factory mattress gives the cancer-stricken grandfather his first new bed

Cline Meredith (67) and his wife Velma (64) continue to raise their two grandchildren Anthony (17) and Aiden (14). However, it is difficult right now as Velma lost her job and Cline’s kidney cancer has spread. You need grab bars in the bathroom as well as tile repairs to keep it safe. (Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757, WonderSandworries.org)

Aaron Kemkaran (36), daughter Kirstan (8) and wife Mayra Reyes (32) play a board game in front of their Georgetown home.  The house is cramped and they are trying to expand their space through the porch.

More:Aaron Kemkaran: Work for musicians, studio owner evaporates in pandemic

More:Daughter injury and music shutdown during the coronavirus put a strain on the Georgetown family

Aaron Kemkaran, 36, earns a living owning the Studio 7 music studio and playing with other musicians. His wife Mayra Reyes, 32, also worked for Studio 7. She and her 8-year-old daughter Kirstan now live with parents, Pedro Reyes, 69, who had a kidney transplant and Alberta Reyes, 63, who is now in need of a kidney transplant .

Her little Georgetown home has only one bathroom that needs renovating. The kitchen cabinets will also need to be replaced along with a sliding glass door. The exterior of the house needs to be replaced and repainted. And they need a water softener.

They’ll also need to pave an area on the side of the house to add parking so their parents can park easily, and they can avoid getting into trouble with the city for blocking the road.

The list is long, but it is not currently in your realm of possibility. Little money comes in. Kemkaran sold most of his studio equipment to pay the bills.

If they had a big dream, they would add a bedroom to the house so that Kirstan could have her own space. (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, 512-541-4226, myhaam.org)

Statesman season for care

Statesman season for care

Read more stories and donate at Statesman.com/seasonforcaringor find a donation voucher Page xx.

By Christmas Day, the Sheth family will match your donation with up to $ 250,000.

More:Donate to Season for Caring

More:Meet the season for caring families

More:Read more Season for Caring stories

More:About the season of care

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