7:00 p.m. Monday, December 14th
Southwest Church of Christ
Fellowship Hall
8900 Manchaca Rd.
(Rear Entrance)

12/14/47 Nascar Founded

12/26/1826 - Erie Canal Opened
(seemed to have gotten date wrong)



The December meeting is traditionally our Annual Holiday Party. We invite everyone, whether members or not, to come and join us for food and fellowship plus a little business. COVNA will provide the food and beverages, we just ask you to bring lots of Holiday Cheer. Potluck dishes and homemade desserts are always welcome. I know we have a lot of good cooks in the neighborhood.



It is time to show your support for the Castlewood—Oak Valley Neighborhood Association. A membership form is on the inside of the hard copy newsletter. You can print a membership form by clicking here. According to the by-laws, dues shall be payable at or before the second meeting of each calendar year.

COVNA still has no Vice-President. If willing to serve, contact any officer listed at right. Could this be you?


Mark Tilley
Floyd Clark (temporary)
Dan Anderson
Hal Ferguson
Doug Tabony
Doug DuBois
Floyd Clark
President (280-2572)
Vice President (282-8245)
Secretary (282-1932)
Treasurer (282-0601)
Newsletter (280-4080)
ANC Delegate (292-9323)
Past President (282-8245)

To join the COVNA Email List, click below and
send an email with your name(s) to Doug at
Now 100+ households strong!

Find out the latest neighborhood news and developments.
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February 16th
April 20th
June 20 - Picnic
September 21st
November 16th
December 14 - Holiday Party

Advertise in the COVNA Newsletter
Only $10.00/month. Reaches over 400 homes & Online at
Email Hal Ferguson at:


Mark Tilley, who has filled the vacancy left by Dominic Chavez, is willing to continue to serve as Preisdent. Dan Anderson is willing to serve another term as Secretary and Doug Tabony is willing to continue as Newsletter Editor. Please come to the Christmas Party and vote for this slate, nominate a willing person, or throw your own hat in the ring. Keep in mind that the position of Vice President remains open. Please consider volunteering to fill this position.

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The holiday season is a time that thoughts turn to feeding the needy. During these tough financial times the need is even greater and those of us who are doing well can make an impact by donating to charities such as the Capital Area Food Bank now and all year.

Hungry Households

• Nearly one in five Central Texans are food insecure.
•41,000 children under the age of 18 in Travis County are confronted with food insecurity every day.
•82% of Food Bank Partner Agency recipients are food insecure. 49% of recipients experience outright hunger. (Source: Hunger in America 2006: Central Texas Report, in association with Feeding America)
•61% of Austin Independent School District (AISD) students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

Making Ends Meet

•76% of households receiving assistance from CAFB Partner Agencies report incomes below the federal poverty level. (Source: Hunger in America 2006: Central Texas Report, in association with Feeding America)
•106,930 (12.6%) of Travis County individuals live below the Federal poverty level ($18,850 for a family of four). (Source: Austin Community Survey, 2004)
•The annual income needed for a Travis County family of four without employee sponsored health insurance to "afford" to live in the Austin area is $53,080. That's 257% above the Federal poverty level. (Source:, The Family Budget Estimator Project)
•Austin continues to have the highest cost of living in the state of Texas, exceeding housing costs in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth.

Those Served are Younger

•While the child poverty rate in Texas is 23.2%, for the CAFB service area, 35% of the household members receiving food are children. (Source: Hunger in America 2006: Central Texas Report, in association with Feeding America)
•While 12.4% of Texans in poverty are elderly, only 7% of households receiving food through CAFB are elderly. (Source: Hunger in America 2006: Central Texas Report, in association with Feeding America)

Working Poor

•Approximately 200,000, or 20%, of Travis County residents are classified as "working poor" by the Texas Department of Human Services. (Source: Basic Needs Coalition, 2005)
•Between 2000 and 2003, the number of households in Travis County increased by 23,274, the majority of which (21,822 households) fell in the lowest three income brackets having an annual income of $24,999 or less.

Who's Serving Our Hungry?
•Of Food Bank Partner Agencies, 71% of pantries and 37% of the soup kitchens are run by faith-based agencies.
•59% of Partner Agency pantries and 12% of soup kitchens are entirely volunteer run with no paid staff.
•CAFB is by far the most important source of food for its Partner Agencies, accounting for 76% of food for pantries and 38% for soup kitchens.

To make a one-time or recurring donation call Cheryl Harp at 684-2103. You can donate funds, food, and/or time online at

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(Editor's note: The article below is for those who are willing to go to great lengths to investigate the charities they donate to. You, like me, receive many phone calls asking for donations to various charities. The only investigation that I do is ask what percentage of my donation goes to the program. If it's below about 75% or the fundraiser can't answer my question I don't give anything to that charity. Some charities receive only 10% or less of what the fundraisers accrue.)

To choose a charity you need to decide what type of cause you want to contribute to, if the charity uses financial resources responsibly and how you want to make donations.

Narrow Down Charity Choices

Type of charity: Are you concerned about the environment, disease research, poverty, education or some other issue? Choose a charity that performs a service you feel passionate about.

Local charity or international: Do you want to contribute locally to a church, shelter or school? Or would you prefer to reach out to impoverished nations abroad by contributing to humanitarian aid or sponsoring a child?

Forms of Charitable Giving

Gifts of cash or time: Are you willing to donate money, volunteer your time, or both?

* To volunteer time, contact the charity to find out what their volunteer needs are and find a way to stay involved on a regular basis.
* Decide if you will make a lump sum contribution or spread cash donations out over time. Contact the charity to find out how to make either type of donation.

Charitable trusts: A charitable trust reduces your estate tax while providing an asset to charity.

Noncash donations: Call the charity to find out if they take donations of clothing, office equipment, packaged food, garden produce, or other items.

Financial Responsibility

To evaluate a charity's distribution of funds and finances, get the following details either via mail or the charity's web site:

Annual report: The charity should have an annual report in print and/or on the charity's web site.

* Check the report to determine if the charity's mission statement is focused and if the charity is succeeding in meeting defined goals.
* The report should reflect all income sources and the percentages of income allocated to charitable work, administrative costs and fund raising.

Form 990: Nonprofit organizations taking in more than $25,000 annually must file Form 990 with the IRS. Open to public inspection, Form 990 gives a breakdown of revenue, expenses and service accomplishments. Ask to see Form 990 and analyze it to ensure you are comfortable with the charity's operations. The Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York provides an excellent tutorial for analyzing Form 990.

Independent auditing: Find out if the charity is audited yearly by a reputable accounting firm and ask for the latest report from an independent certified public accountant.

Check charity ratings:

*, which is affiliated with the Better Business Bureau, offers an online National Charity Reports Index.
* Get local charity information from your local Better Business Bureau.
* The American Institute of Philanthropy provides a listing of top-rated charities.

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