Many Austin residents support worthy causes during holiday season

The holiday season is a time for receiving and giving, and many Austin residents are involved in charitable causes to help those in need in the weeks leading up to Christmas. People who check out some of the homes for sale in Austin will likely find that various local residents celebrate the spirit of the season through volunteering and community service.

For example, Cranksgiving, a grassroots campaign that raises funds for the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), illustrates the desire for Austin residents to support worthy causes. The 2012 edition of this annual event will take place on Thanksgiving Day and promises to be a fun-filled occasion for participants and visitors alike.

The Austin Ridge Riders, a mountain bike club, has hosted the event for several years. Cranksgiving is scheduled to take place at Pace Bend Park in Spicewood, roughly 36 miles west of Austin, and allows residents to raise money for advocacy, education and research for people affected by Lupus.

In a recent survey, the LFA found that nearly 72 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 years old knew little or nothing about Lupus beyond its name. However, Cranksgiving allows Austin residents to learn about Lupus and show their support for those who are impacted by the disease.

How does Cranksgiving work?
Participants begin riding at 9 a.m. and travel along a single-track loop at Pace Bend Park for six hours. The event promotes community gathering and an active lifestyle by giving attendees the chance to enjoy nature and raise funds for the LFA.

Each year, Cranksgiving ends with a post-event barbecue and raffle, and every participant earns a raffle ticket for each lap he or she completes.

Adopt-a-family program
Cranksgiving represents one of several ways many Austin community members support worthy causes. The Adopt-a-family program offered by the Christmas Bureau of Austin and Travis County also provides significant support to local families during the holiday season.

Adopt-a-family participants reach out to families that include up to 22 members and provide them with a holiday meal and gifts. The Christmas Bureau usually encourages participants to offer gift cards to accommodate families' preferences. This program allows Austin residents to give what they have, and participants can deliver the presents before Christmas Day to ensure that these families can celebrate the holiday.