Paramount Theatre volunteers create face masks from T-shirts, Black Fret donates to musician fund and more local efforts to support the Austin community

Paramount Theatre volunteers turned 550 T-shirts into face coverings donated to nonprofit and charity organizations around Austin. (Courtesy Paramount Theatre)
Paramount Theatre volunteers turned 550 T-shirts into face coverings donated to nonprofit and charity organizations around Austin. (Courtesy Paramount Theatre)

Paramount Theatre volunteers turned 550 T-shirts into face coverings donated to nonprofit and charity organizations around Austin. (Courtesy Paramount Theatre)

Every month in Community Impact Newspaper is a section called Impacts highlighting businesses opening, coming soon, celebrating anniversaries, relocating or closing.

This month, the editorial team is doing something a little different on online. City orders to encourage social distancing, slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect residents have dealt a blow to the local economy.

Some businesses have started new efforts to keep their neighbors healthy and help those in need. The Central Austin team is highlighting some of those efforts, but there are surely more in the community. If readers know of a local business or nonprofit that is working to help the community get through this time, send an email to [email protected]

1. Bank of America, which has offices in the Third + Shoal tower at 607 W. Third St., Austin, announced a $100 million campaign to support organizations around the world helping communities recover from the coronavirus March 17. According to a company spokesperson, the campaign includes a $1 million donation spread across 18 Central Texas organizations, including Ascension Seton, Foundation Communities and Communities in Schools.

2. Baylor Scott & White, a local health care provider that has a clinic at 200 E. Cesar Chavez St., Ste. G140, Austin, announced April 30 it has provided more than $1.5 million to staff who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The internal fund existed prior to the pandemic, according to a company spokesperson, and was expanded recently to help more employees with expenses including housing, meals and child care. Contributions have come from the health system's board members, executive team, employees and outside community groups.

3. Black Fret announced April 28 that its livestreamed concert series, Austin Love and Light Stream, allowed the local music nonprofit to pay $24,000 to musicians and $25,000 to Health Alliance for Austin Music, a nonprofit that supports the health needs of the music community. The concert series aired virtually over five days in March; $18,000 went to Austin performers, and Black Fret also paid $6,000 to bands it had originally booked to play its South by Southwest Conference & Festivals day party, which was canceled. Additionally, Black Fret awarded $250,000 in grants to its 2019 Black Fret Artists—19 bands comprising of almost 100 musicians.

4. Circuit of the Americas, located at 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd., Austin, will host a fundraiser for the Central Texas Food Bank on May 10 that will allow attendees to drive the 3.4-mile Formula 1 track. Donations are recommended at the event but not required to participate. Germainia Insurance will match up to $10,000 of donations, and COTA and Austin Bold FC will also match with a separate donation of up to $10,000. Guests can choose to donate nonperishable food items; contactless drop-off locations will be available for both food and cash donations.

5. East Austin restaurants Gourmands and The Cavalier are selecting a different organization weekly through May to receive a bulk bag of food—including cookie dough from the Cavalier. Local residents can nominate organizations by sending a direct message to the two restaurants. On April 30, Gourmands announced it had donated 980 meals to senior residents at the Rebekah Baines Johnson Center. Gourmands: 2316 Webberville Road, Austin. 512-610-2031. The Cavalier: 2400 Webberville Road, Ste. A, Austin. 512-696-4318.

6. The Greater Austin Merchants Cooperative Association, headquartered at 8801 Research Blvd., Austin, announced a $25,000 gift to the Central Texas Food Bank on April 30. "People need help now more than ever and are having to make hard decisions for their families, while dealing with loss of income," GAMA Chief Operating Officer Shane Walker in a media release. GAMA is composed of more than 550 convenience and gas stores in 16 Central Texas counties. 512-374-1413.

7. A new video series, Home Cookin' for a Cause, bringing together Austin chefs and restaurant owners for virtual cooking lessons to benefit nonprofit Southern Smoke will be airing Mondays and Thursdays from May 4 to June 29. Viewers can order a meal kit then watch Austin chefs such as Gabe Erales of Comedor, Jules Stoddardt of Olamaie and Sarah McIntosh of Epicerie make recipes featuring beers from New Belgium Brewing—which is supporting the events. Customers can purchase the ingredients directly from the restaurants to make the recipes themselves or visit Salt & Time in East Austin or for ingredient boxes prepared by the chefs.

8. Interfaith Action of Central Texas, a local nonprofit based at 2921 E. 17th St., Austin, will host a fundraiser event called "Courage to Hope" featuring conversations and a concert from Jimmie Dale Gilmore on May 12. The event is open to sponsors and supporters of the nonprofit, whose mission is to "cultivate peace and respect through interfaith dialogue, service and celebration." 512-386-9145.

9. Volunteer ushers at the Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave., Austin, turned 550 Paramount Theatre T-shirts into face coverings for nonprofit organizations such as the Central Texas Food Bank, Austin Disaster Relief Network and Community First Village, according to an April 30 media release. The volunteers also plan to turn leftover T-shirt scraps from the mask production into dog toys donated to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 512-472-5470.

10. Savilino, a local apron and leather goods company located at 777 Shady Lane, Ste. 10, Austin, has changed its business model to create masks available for sale to the public. Owner Chris Savittere has created more than 50 jobs for seamstresses and tailors who lost their jobs during the coronavirus crisis. The company has sold more than 30,000 masks as of May 1. It also partnered with the Austin Municipal Court and local nonprofit Front Steps to donate more than 2,800 masks to homeless individuals. 512-527-3832.

11. Siete and Loro have combined to create an online food and music event for Austin residents that will also include donations by both the food brand and the restaurant to the Central Texas Food Bank and the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. "Juntos at Home: Austin Amor" will feature a concert on Siete's YouTube page beginning at 7 p.m. on May 5 featuring local artists Angélica Rahe, The Tierra Girls and Sam Houston. Siete and Loro have also created a cook-at-home taco and queso kit available on May for pickup from Loro, 2115 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, from 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Siete: Loro: 512-916-4858.

12. Silicon Labs, which is headquartered at 400 W. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, announced April 24 a new program called "I Eat Local." The company gave its more than 1,500 employees worldwide an extra $15 to purchase a to-go meal from a local restaurant—a total contribution of more than $22,000. The company is encouraging other companies with the means to follow suit and asking individuals ordering from a local spot to share on social media with the hashtag #ieatlocal. 512-416-8500.

13. St. David's HealthCare made a $50,000 donation to All Together ATX—a philanthropic fund to support the community through the hardships caused by the coronavirus—on April 30. As of May 1, the fund has received more than $5.7 million in donations and distributed about $1.8 million to 97 profits since it was announced March 27. St. David's Medical Center is located at 919 E. 32nd St., Austin. 512-544-7111.

14. #StillHereATX is a project from photographer Annie Ray chronicling Austin's restaurant owners who are remaining open to offer services while residents are encouraged to stay at home. The series, which can be found at Ray's Instagram account, has featured Central Austin spots from Komé Sushi Kitchen to Tiny Pies to Contigo.

Tiny Pies is #StillHereATX No matter what we can’t be still. We move. We open. We close. We improvise. Sometimes it’s a choice. Sometimes there is no choice. But if you asked us if we could give someone a familiar second. The feeling of seeing an old friend. A gentle reminder of the things they love. We still say yes. You stay home, we’re #stillhereATX. #stillhereatx #facesofaustin #strongertogether #austintexasstrong #commercialphotography #austinphotographyseries #covi̇d19 #personalproject #portrait #photo #enviromentalphotography #socialdistancing #thesouth #onlocation #canon5dmarkiv #profotousa From Neil Petty and Annie Ray - Thank you to all the people and businesses that make our day and allowed us to document them for #stillhereATX. Each moment of their workday was captured from a safe distance following proper guidelines

A post shared by Annie Ray (@annieraydotnet) on Apr 19, 2020 at 10:13am PDT

15. Sustainable Food Center, an Austin-based nonprofit that hosts a Saturday Farmers' Market in downtown Austin at Republic Square, 422 Guadalupe St., announced a pilot project April 30 to provide groceries in the dining rooms of closed restaurants that are located in areas of town with high barriers to food access. The Neighborhood Pop-Up Grocery project is funded by the city and was produced in partnership with Foodshed Investors, which provides assistance for food and agricultural entrepreneurs. The first restaurant to join the pilot program is Hecho en Mexico, located at 2010 Montopolis Drive, Ste. 23, and owned by Mónica Ruiz-Licea. 512-236-0074.

16. Tso Chinese Delivery, a Chinese food takeout-only business with a kitchen location at 3909 N. I-35, Austin, announced a campaign to give $50 in free food to 1,000 teachers during the month of May. The effort is part of the delivery restaurant's Tso Giving campaign, which provided more than $45,000 in free meals to residents in need throughout the month of April. Teachers can apply by visiting and filling out a form with their information for verification. Once approved, they will receive a $50 credit to their Tso account.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at [email protected]


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