Business freshman Morgan Moulckers is raising money through online donations to help the local homeless population.

Photo Credit: Michael Baez | Daily Texan Staff

Business freshman Morgan Moulckers and a local nonprofit are working to provide the chronically homeless in Austin with a stable community in which they can thrive.

Moulckers started her fundraiser, “Bringing the Homeless Home,” in October. She hopes to raise $25,000 to move two chronically homeless people into a trailer provided by Mobile Loaves & Fishes, the local organization behind Community First! Village. 

“With everyone’s hard work, we ended up raising over $12,000,” Moulckers said. “Enough to move a family into one of Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ trailers.”

At Community First! Village, residents work in the garden to provide fresh, organic foods for the community. 

Sarah Boettcher, director of Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ volunteer program, said the program’s original mission was to go out in trucks and provide food and other resources to the homeless.

“Volunteers were going out every single night of the week, and they were seeing the same people on the same street corner over and over and over again,” Boettcher said. “They realized that these people on the streets need more than just a sandwich or a pair of socks.”

Mobile Loaves & Fishes began placing single, chronically homeless people in RV parks around Austin, but Boettcher said these people needed to be placed in a purposeful and supportive community to remain on the right track.

“We’re just trying to create a space where people can come and feel loved — feel settled and like they have family — because that’s why they are on the streets,” Boettcher said. “There’s been a breakdown of [family ties] somewhere.”

The village will provide homes ranging from $110-$340 per month. In addition to housing, the village boasts a community garden, a workshop and an art house.

“The majority of the people on the streets are not W-2 employable, but, as Americans, we’re constantly trying to fit a circle into a square peg,” Boettcher said. “We’re thinking of creative ways for them to be able to work because we realize that, even for us, what we do kind of holds our identity and, in a sense, brings out security in us.”

So far, Moulckers has begun to raise funds through online donations at Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ website. Her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, will also host a philanthropy event for the cause soon. 

Business freshman Nadia Vlieger is helping design T-shirts and plan events for the fundraiser. Vlieger said just being around the UT campus her first year helped her understand how important Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ work is. 

“I didn’t realize how prevalent homelessness was until I saw it along the Drag,” Vlieger said.

Over the summer, Moulckers was able to visit the couple living in the trailer she helped finance. They told her about life on the street, how their possessions had been stolen, how they were chronically unemployed, and how they just couldn’t make ends meet. Moulckers said the couple teared up because it had been so long since they felt secure.

“I could see the impact after actually moving the family in,” Moulckers said. “How only $12,000 can transform a family’s life and give them a whole new future.”  

Wild Art | 09.29.14

Segyero Yoon, international relations and global studies junior, jumps to catch a doughnut as part of a fundraiser by Texas China Care.
Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

A group of students plays basketball at Adams Park on Sunday evening.
Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

The Trash to Treasure sale and fundraiser moved its location this fall to Gregory Gym Plaza with hopes of reaching more students.  

The Trash to Treasure fundraiser, which is sponsored by the Campus Environmental Center, sells donated items like clothing, shoes and other goods every semester to raise awareness about sustainability and raise money for the center's events. Emily Mixon, plan II honors geography senior and director of the event said the sale is usually held at the Flawn Academic Center.

“This morning is a lot busier than I’ve seen it before,” Mixon said.

 Mixon said the fundraiser usually raises around $2,000, and the funds go toward other eco-friendly initiatives.

“This is our main fundraiser for the year and one of my favorite events,” Mixon said. “It’s not blatantly about going green. So I feel like we get to reach out to a lot of students who might shy away from that or might think that it doesn’t apply to them.”

The organization diverts about three tons of materials from landfills, Mixon said.

“A lot of [the items are] perfectly good stuff, but most of it would have been thrown away,” Mixon said. “Just because I don’t want something doesn’t mean it isn’t good, [which] I feel like happens so often within our society and especially college students.”

Mixon said the items that are not sold will most likely go back into storage for the next sale that will take place in March, but said the organization is partnered with Goodwill and donates clothing items to them as well.

The pumpkin patch

Four-year-old Avery Reynolds plays in the aisles of pumpkins Saturday afternoon at Terrytown United Methodist Church. A long-standing tradition, the pumpkin patch will be open until Halloween and is a fundraiser for Sunday school students’ summer mission trips. Last year it raised $18,000 to help students buy needed materials for their trip to the Rio Grande Valley and this coming summer the students will be headed to Harlem in New York City.

Danielle Villasana | Daily Texan Staff

Obama to visit Austin for fundraiser

President Barack Obama visited New York City today to lay a wreath at ground zero. This Tuesday, May 10, he'll be in Austin for a campaign fundraiser after stopping in El Paso, according to The Associated Press.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

President Barack Obama is traveling to the Republican stronghold of Texas Tuesday to promote his policies, raise funds and experience a country music performance.

Obama is coming to Austin to raise money for his re-election campaign and will be joined by singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker at Austin Music Hall. Tuesday’s event is expected to be one of his last campaign stops in Austin this campaign cycle.

The campaign is selling tickets for around $250 for the Austin Music Hall fundraiser, a relatively lower price compared to a previous event at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater where tickets sold for at least $1000.

Government professor Daron Shaw said the Obama campaign has been engaged in narrowcasting, or targeting a narrow audience, to promote highly tested and localized messages.

“Because there are young people and students in Austin, it is very likely he will emphasize issues that have a particular appeal to those populations,” Shaw said.

The President has made education a central part of his platform during his term. He implemented student loan reform as well as working to make college more affordable by doubling funding for Pell Grants. The student loan reform, starting in 2014, will allow new borrowers to pay no more than 10 percent of their disposable income. This law also allows remaining debt to be forgiven after 20 years and after 10 years for those engaged in public-service professions. Since 2008, Obama has increased the number of Pell Grant recipients from 6 million to 9 million by eliminating the middlemen banks from the college-loan program.

Andy Hogue, spokesperson for the Travis County Republican Party, said it won’t do Obama much good to campaign for votes in a state as Republican as Texas. He predicts Obama will mainly speak about same-sex marriage and health care.

“He is appearing at a fundraiser hosted by a local gay rights organization,” Hogue said. “It’s quite ironic that Mr. Obama’s campaign will prosper from having come to a part of the country that is so opposed to his agenda. If Texas had followed in his footsteps, we wouldn’t have as much money to give.”

The Travis County Democratic Party is looking forward to Obama’s visit. Chairman Andy Brown said he wants Obama to continue talking about the accomplishments he has made.

“Obama comes at a perfect time to inspire volunteers to start working on the fall campaign,” Brown said. “I want him to highlight his policies versus the policies of Mitt Romney.”

The presidential visit will cause nine bus routes to be detoured from around 1 p.m. to approximately 8 p.m. The major corridors, Barton Springs Road, Riverside Drive, Congress Avenue, Lamar Boulevard and 5th Street will not be affected. Signs will be posted at each of the affected stops to provide alternate routes, according to Capital Metro.

Friends of the late Austin icon Leslie Cochran are planning a fundraiser to help the hospice facility that saw the homeless hero through his last days.

Leslie Fest 2012 will be held on June 24, the day that would have been Leslie’s 61st birthday.

Proceeds from the celebration will benefit Hospice Austin’s Christopher House, a nonprofit organization that cares for terminally ill individuals in the community.

Benefit organizer Brently Heilbron, comedian and television actor, said Leslie Fest will be a festival-like benefit in honor of Leslie’s spirit.

The benefit will be an all-day event held at Club 606 with a variety of live entertainment including stand-up comedians and a lineup of musical performances on two stages. Heilbron said special musical guests are still in the works.

Leslie was well known for his eccentricity when walking the streets of downtown Austin in heels and a leopard-print thong. Heilbron said he encourages everyone to dress up for the celebration in true Leslie style.

It was Leslie’s family who requested proceeds from the celebration to benefit Hospice Austin’s Christopher House, Heilbron said.

“Hospice Austin does so much not just for the homeless, but for anyone who can’t pay for medical care,” Heilbron said. “They do hard work right until the end, and we want to help them for Leslie.”

Every year, Hospice Austin provides $2.5 million in health care services for patients at no cost.

They provide specialized care to patients in their homes, hospitals and nursing homes. Hospice Austin’s Christopher House is an inpatient facility where Leslie, who died on March 8, spent his last days.

Melinda Marble, spokeswoman for Christopher House, said they are honored to have been able to take care of Leslie in his last days and appreciate the support from his friends.

“Leslie was such a huge part of the community and gave it its heart and soul,” she said. “Taking care of him lined up so closely with our mission of caring for the community that takes care of us.”

Hospice Austin regularly cares for homeless individuals, Marble said. Some are treated at Christopher House, while others are offered treatment wherever they may be staying, such as in their cars or under bridges, she said.

There are more than 2,300 homeless individuals living on the streets or in shelters on any given night in Austin, according the city of Austin’s website.

During his time in Austin, Leslie quickly rose to local celebrity status. Leslie channeled his popularity into bringing attention to the treatment of others, including the homeless.

Valerie Romness, friend of Leslie and his power of attorney, said Leslie’s family is looking forward to having his memory help the homeless.

“His family and immediate friends feel like Austin is a great city to live in because Leslie lived here,” she said. “It’s because of him that we can be ourselves.”

Romness said the celebration will provide a feeling of assurance to Leslie’s friends who keep his memory as a reminder of what he stood for.

“Leslie opened the door for Austin to feel free and be itself,” Romness said. “He fostered an environment where we are accepted for however we are in all our uniqueness.” 

Printed on Friday, April 20, 2012 as: Fundraiser benefits hospice, honors Austin icon Leslie 

Social work junior Mandy Stein and Campus Candy Yogurt Bar have joined forces to raise money for the Tunleeni orphanage in Tanzania. Stein initiated the fundraiser in the hopes of providing enough resources for the organization to build a new home for the orphans.

Photo Credit: Ty Hardin | Daily Texan Staff

A local candy shop and a UT student are working together to raise funds to build an orphanage nearly 9,000 miles from Austin in the United Republic of Tanzania.

Through a self-organized profit sharing fundraiser with the Campus Candy Yogurt Bar & Snacketeria, social work junior Mandy Stein hopes to gain support to build a new home for 78 orphans she met last summer while in Tanzania. Whenever a customer mentions Stein’s organization, 20 percent of their purchases go toward the fundraiser.

Stein said she also initiated a T-shirt campaign to serve as another source of funding for this project. Each shirt costs $13, which is enough to provide three meals for the children at the orphanage.

All profits earned through the Campus Candy Yogurt Bar and Stein’s T-shirt campaign will go to fund the Tuleeni Orphanage in Tanzania.

According to Stein’s financial records, all of the money raised in the past has already been utilized to begin the construction of the new facility. Before her most recent trip over winter break, she helped raise $2,500 for the purchase and remodeling of a new moving truck, she said.

Stein said simply having the moving truck ready for use will make their work easier this summer.

“Since I was young, I always wanted to change the world,” Stein said. “For the longest time, my heart has been attached to Africa.”

Campus Candy Yogurt Bar general manager Sierra Murray said the company is eager to support Stein’s fundraiser.

“We usually have organizations approach us to take part in profit sharing,” Murray said. “But I was blown away to have an individual approach me about this cause.”

Partnering with Hugs for T.UG., a charitable foundation created for the construction of buildings and schools in Tanzania and Uganda, Stein hopes her efforts, as well as those of her partners, will be able to give basic necessities to those living in poor conditions. Stein said her goal is not to promote any religious values to the children, but to provide general humanitarian relief.

“The way they live their lives is fine,” Stein said. “We just want to go in and try to make things easier on the families.”

For example, Stein said providing washing machines is not meant to force change upon their daily routines, but rather allows them to spend less time worrying about chores and more time together as a family.

Stein said she believes it is amazing to provide financial support for the orphans and is looking forward to moving to Tanzania and spending her time working for the children.

“Because their parents are constantly working, I will be there to provide another source of love for those kids,” Stein said. “These kids are amazing kids, but they were unfortunately born into a life that deprives them of certain opportunities that we take for granted here.”

Printed on, Tuesday February 14, 2012 as: Student aids orphanage with help of candy shop