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Local organizations raise funds for Giving Tuesday

A number of Bastrop County nonprofits and organizations participated in Giving Tuesday Now, a global day of fundraising in response to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Giving Tuesday is an annual global fundraising day held shortly after Thanksgiving for organizations and nonprofits to raise money for their operations; this year, Giving Tuesday is scheduled for December 1. However, in response to the need created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Giving Tuesday launched another fundraising date, called Giving Tuesday Now, on May 5.

One of the organizations that participated was the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry, which provides an emergency food supply for Bastrop County residents in crisis and serves an average of 3,500 clients per year.

This year, they experienced an 80 percent increase in request for services during the first week of April alone, and they have distributed nearly twice as much food this March and April than they normally do, according to the food pantry’s Facebook fundraising page. They anticipate that their number of clients served will double this year.

Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry’s fundraising goal is $5,000, and during Giving Tuesday last week, they raised a total of $1,875. The fundraiser continues through the end of May. As of Monday morning, 25 people had donated $2,135.

Another organization seeking funding during Giving Tuesday Now is the Bastrop County Animal Shelter Helpers, which assists Bastrop County Animal Services with animals in need that the shelter cannot afford to assist, such as through emergency services or spay and neuter.

As of last Tuesday evening, at the end of the official Giving Tuesday Now day, they raised enough funds to distribute nearly 40 spay/ neuter certificates to low-income families in Bastrop County. By this Monday morning, 26 people had given a total of $2,315.

Austin Wildlife Rescue, an organization that takes in, rehabilitates and releases wild animals in the Austin area and which opened a new rehabilitation center in Bastrop County last year, also participated in Giving Tuesday Now. According to their Facebook page, Austin Wildlife Rescue has seen a 50 percent decrease in intake donations since the beginning of the COVID-19 situation. The rescue depends on these donations to buy food, medicine and supplies for the animals in their care, executive director Hayley Hudnall said in a video.

The rescue received 820 animals in April, according to their page, and are on track to care for over 8,000 total this year.

During Giving Tuesday Now, Austin Wildlife Rescue raised over $25,000, according to the rescue’s page. The Nicolas J. Juried Family Foundation also matched $5,000.