With over 30 turkeys stuffed in the backseat of his blue Toyota Tundra, Mike Dahlhauser spent the Monday before Thanksgiving handing out meals to families in a Lake Travis-area trailer park.

After years of helping his community through winter storms, family loss, illness and financial struggles, Dahlhauser's labors of love now constitute his full-time job as founder of the nonprofit 12:31.

The backstory

In early 2021, 12:31 began as a Facebook group for Lake Travis-area residents to get help, whether it be for moving furniture or preparing a job resume.

"We got to thinking somewhere along the way, we all kind of lost the ability to ask for help. So we wanted an outlet for people to be able to do that," Dahlhauser said.

Soon after creating the group, Winter Storm Uri blew into town, leaving many residents without basic needs, such as food, water and electricity. Within a week, the group gained thousands of members as Dahlhauser worked to connect families in need with those who could help.

"I think it showed that generally people want to give back and help, they just don't always know where to look for those opportunities," said Dahlhauser, who was later named the 2021 Volunteer of the Year by the city of Bee Cave.

The impact

People in need often struggle to find local support services due to lengthy application processes, long wait lists and the general unpredictability of life, Dahlhauser said.

"We just meet people where they're at. That looks different to everyone, so we try to take a customized approach with each family," Dahlhauser said.

Dahlhauser estimates he has helped serve hundreds of families, from covering the cost of all reduced lunches for Lakeway ISD students to helping parents pay rent after losing their job.

Zooming in

After Lake Travis resident Steve West's wife died at a local high school football game in 2022, Dahlhauser stepped in to help raise $18,000 to cover the funeral costs and additional bills.

"It's been such a blessing to get to know Mike. He'll constantly reach out and see if I need any help with things," West said.

What's in a name

The name 12:31 comes from the Bible verse Mark 12:31 and the line, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."