AUSTIN, Texas - *Update* Thanks to donations from thousands of local people, more than $7.7 million was raised during the 24-hour Amplify Austin drive. All the money will go to more than 500 charities around Central Texas.
The biggest push for donations went to Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin Area with $402,000 donated. The YMCA of Austin received nearly $290,000 and Hospice Austin received more than $250,000.
You can still help out any of the participating organizations, just head to Amplify Austin's website here.
This is an update to a previous story. The original version is as follows:
The biggest day of giving in Austin is set to begin. Amplify Austin starts at 6:00 p.m. and, for 24 hours, will attempt to raise $7 million for hundreds of local charities like Mobile Loaves & Fishes. The organization explains why this is so necessary for those who help others.
The Community First! Village is a 27-acre master- planned community out in East Austin and is a dream 12 years in the making.
"It's a pretty special place. This is the most innovative approach to homelessness that has happened in United States of America," says Donna Emery, Development Director at Mobile Loaves & Fishes.
It's designed to create a sustainable community for the chronically disabled homeless.
"We have men and women who are living on our streets, who are under our bridges, who are in the woods who are fighting to survive. Many of them are sick, they are battling some very serious health issues and they are alone," Emery says.
Mobile Loaves & Fishes, along with thousands of volunteers, has been working on it since October. It hopes to start moving in its first residents by the beginning of May.
Once finished, the gated community will have 250 residents. Plans include a medical center, community market, three acres of gardens, livestock as well as a bee colony.
Residents will have to pay rent but there will also be a chance to earn a dignified income by doing work on the property. Emery says it could be working in the garden, painting, taking care of bees or goats or taking care of neighbors.
Crews are currently working to complete the sewage, electric and water services.
Of course this is an expensive undertaking. That's why Mobile Loaves & Fishes is hoping Central Texans will donate during Amplify Austin.
Last year, the mass fundraising effort raised more than $5 million. This year the goal is $7 million for some 500 charities. It's 24 hours of giving that could translate to years of helping others.
"They're going to allow us serve the men and women on our streets who need our help more than anybody right now," Emery says.
To see a list of all the charities or to donate you can head to Amplify Austin's website here.