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With Christmas only four days away, there's no better time to give back to the Austin community.
In a tough year for many, you can help others in the community through donations and volunteering. You might just make someone's holiday season that much better.
Here are some ways you can give back to the community.
Travis County Brown Santa
The Travis County Brown Santa is a community service program created by the Travis County Sheriff's Office seeking to help underprivileged children and their families. This year, Brown Santa is looking to continue it's tradition of donating goods with the help of volunteers who help make the magic happen. The program is currently collecting new, unwrapped toys, unopened non-perishable food and money to help those in need.
More information on ways to help the Travis County Brown Santa can be found here.
Austin Jingle Bell 5K
Austin Jingle Bells 5K is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year by going virtual. The program is run by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which focuses on bringing awareness to drunk driving and giving aid to victims. Since the event is virtual, you can participate wherever you'd like until Jan. 6 or donate online.
More information on ways to help the Austin Jingle Bell 5K can be found here.
The Austin Police Operation Blue Santa
Blue Santa 2020 is kicking off by providing toys and food for families in need during the holiday season. The Austin Police Operation Blue Santa is a non-profit volunteer organization serving Austin for 48 years. Blue Santa is trying to reach $500,000 this year to provide families in need gift cards for toys and food. Due to the pandemic, the program is not seeking volunteers this year but encouraging a monetary donation online
More information on ways to help the Austin Police Operation Blue Santa can be found here.
Austin Habitat for Humanity
Austin Habitat for Humanity accepts donations year round to help build a home for local families. Every year, Realty Austin volunteers with the organization to help raise money and build a home before the holiday season arrives. This year, they met their goal with help from the local community. With Christmas around the corner, consider donating your extra furniture in your home to make someone's holiday a little merrier.
More information on ways to help Austin Habitat for Humanity can be found here.
Central Texas Food Bank
With the pandemic affecting so many families this year, the Central Texas Food Bank is asking for extra help to help those who have been impacted by the pandemic. The organization is offering many ways people can give back and help provide for families in need, such as making an online donation and donating to local participanting stores such as Target, Sprouts, Wheatsville Co-op and more. Central Texas Food Bank is accepting donations and business proceeds until Dec. 31.
More information on ways to help the Central Texas Food Bank can be found here.
Meals on Wheels Central Texas
Meals on Wheels Central Texas provides meals, safety checks and human connection to homebound older adults. The organization focuses on ensuring that seniors stay independent and connected to their community while providing meals and other life-sustaining services. Meals on Wheels provides year-round services but encourages extra donations during the holiday season.
More information on ways to help Meals on Wheels Central Texas can be found here.
Toys for Tots
The Toys for Tots Foundation assists the U.S. Marine Corps in providing new toys for underprivileged children during the holidays. With help and donations for local community members, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program supported over 20,000 children in Austin in 2019. Due to the pandemic, the program is looking to raise even more toys to distribute than last year with an online fundraiser.
More information on ways to help Toys for Tots can be found here.
Austin Angels is a non-profit organization aiding foster families with international giving, relationship building and mentoring. The program is continuing to help children and youth in foster care with donations. Due to COVID-19, Austin Angels is looking to support thousands of children to have access to the resources they need to build a better community. You can make a one time, monthly, quarterly or annual donation to Austin Angels.
More information on ways to help Austin Angels can be found here.
This is part of a holiday series counting down to Christmas so make sure to visit Austonia tomorrow, as we reach three days until Christmas.
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Police have arrested one of two suspects involved in a mass shooting at Austin's Sixth Street in the early morning hours on Saturday, leaving 14 people injured and two in critical condition.
The arrest was made by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. One suspect is still at large.
Police started receiving 911 phone calls at 1:24 a.m about a man that fired shots into a large crowd, and responded to a chaotic scene on the 400 block of East Sixth Street. Detectives are surveying video footage captured by bystanders and cameras on the scene to identify the suspect.
The Austin Police Department has narrowed down their search to two male suspects and believes there was "some type of disturbance" between the two parties.
No deaths have been reported. Fourteen victims are receiving treatment in a hospital in stable condition with one treated in an emergency room; two are in critical condition.
According to Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon, "almost all" of the victims are innocent bystanders but police have not ruled anyone out at this time.
Shooting on 6th Street Austin Texas 6-12-2021 (Aftermath) youtu.be
The shooting occurred on the weekend of the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. With lots of people downtown, police say it was difficult to get EMS in and out of the scene. Police arrived while the scene was still an "active threat," officers "immediately began lifesaving measures" and drove six victims to the hospital in their squad cars, said Chacon, and four were transported in ambulances.
Chacon said that the incident is believed to be isolated, and they optimistic they will be successful in getting the two suspects into custody. Multiple departments, including APD, the FBI, Texas DPS and the ATF, are involved in the investigation.
Austin police are also requesting state troopers for patrol assistance in the coming days. Chacon stressed staffing issues are increasingly making responding to emergency calls "very hard."
"Overall, we remain a safe city," Chacon said. "Also keep in mind when you come downtown, you need to be safety conscious. Be vigilant of your environment and your surroundings."
Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 911 or 512-472-TIPS.
This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. to include new information and will be updated as more details are revealed.
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Austin police are investigating a homicide in North Austin where a woman was shot and killed, just hours after a mass shooting in Downtown Austin hospitalized 14 people.
APD is working a suspicious death near the 1900 block of W Rundberg Ln. PIO is en route and will update with media staging location. PIO6
— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) June 12, 2021
Police originally responded to Ironhorse Flats Apartments, 1900 block of W. Rundberg Lane, at 3:20 p.m. when they found the woman with multiple gunshot wounds. She was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 4:07 p.m.
No one is in custody as of yet but police are speaking with potential witnesses. Officials said they believe this was an isolated incident with no danger to the public but said possible relation to the downtown shooting has not been specifically ruled out.
Officers could not provide a suspect description and the relationship to the victim is still unknown.
This is a developing story that will be updated as details become available.
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