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Chamber ambassadors to host food drive, fundraiser

Austin Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandy Forstner talks at Business After Hours Tuesday night at Smyth Companies. The chamber kicked off a food drive to benefit the Salvation Army. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Austin Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandy Forstner talks at Business After Hours Tuesday night at Smyth Companies. The chamber kicked off a food drive to benefit the Salvation Army. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Despite generous giving over the holidays, food is still needed at the Salvation Army Food Shelf in Austin. That’s why the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce is doing something about it.

Chamber ambassadors will collect food now through May 10 at the Austin Daily Herald and other locations. The food will be donated to the Salvation Army Food Shelf. The food drive kicked off at Business After Hours Tuesday evening at Smyth Companies.

“It’s our Chamber ambassadors’ effort to raise some food for the shelf,” chamber Executive Director Sandy Forstner said.

This is the first year of the event.

The chamber will also collect food at the next Business After Hours on May 10 at St. Mark’s Living.

“The ambassadors were looking for a community project and they chose this one,” Forstner said.

Forstner hopes the drive will collect a lot of food for those in need in Mower County.

“It’s our ambassadors way of supporting the food shelf and helping them restock their shelves so that food is available for those that need it,” he said.

Fired up for the fireworks

The chamber will also host a fundraiser for the Austin Freedom Fest fireworks display from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Pizza Ranch on April 27. Chamber ambassadors will bus tables, show people to their tables and work for tips, along with a percentage of sales for that time, which will go toward the festival fireworks. Forstner explained much of the funding for the festival comes from business donations, but they do fundraisers for the fireworks display.

“We’re fundraising pretty much half the year for Freedom Fest,” he said.

“We have the best fireworks display in southeastern Minnesota and it entertains tens of thousands of people,” he added. “It’s just a great way to tap the holiday weekend in Austin.”

Dropoff locations for chamber food drive

•Austin Daily Herald, 310 Second St. NE

•US Bank, 301 N. Main St.

•Home Federal, 201 W. Oakland Ave.

•Bremer Bank, 805 N. Main St.

•Mower County Shopper, 3405 W. Oakland Ave.

•St. Mark’s Living, 400 15th Ave. SW

Austin Area Chamaber of Commerce Ambassador Lisa Dunlop loads food for a chamber food drive after Business After Hours Tuesday night at Smyth Companies.  Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Austin Area Chamaber of Commerce Ambassador Lisa Dunlop loads food for a chamber food drive after Business After Hours Tuesday night at Smyth Companies.
Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com