Tradition! Shriners come through again and again

Published 7:01 am Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Austin Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign began its 2016 season Friday just as it has for many, many years: With a check from the Austin Area Shrine Club & Oriental Band.

Despite falling temperatures and high winds, representatives of the Shriners gathered next to the Salvation Army campaign sign on 18th Avenue Northwest Friday and presented a $900 check to the campaign.

The donation marked the kick-off of bell-ringing, which goes through Dec. 24. A goal of $170,000 has been set.

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The goal is the same as last year, but the need is perhaps greater. Lt. David Amick said, “we are starting to see an increase in requests for rental assistance; we’re hoping to exceed our goal in order to help more,” Amick said.

The food shelf is also in need of donations, as the corps looks forward to the high usage during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

If there is any sure thing when it comes to donations, Amick said the Shriners can always be counted on, as he took their donation — always the first of the campaign season.

“The Shriners are just awesome,” he praised. “We are extremely happy and excited about this donation.”

Amick said he is impressed every year when the Shriners raise thousands through their “Ring Night” — held on the first Friday in December, when the members ring bells all over town.

“And then, they match that amount; it’s incredible,” Amick said.

Also incredible are the many individuals and organizations that take time from their busy holiday seasons to pick up the bells. Shifts are still available for bell-ringing, Amick said. Kettles will be manned from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, and are located at Hy-Vee, Jim’s Marketplace, Runnings, Shopko, Sterling Main Street and Walmart.

People can register for the two-hour shifts one of three ways: They can sign up online at and click on “Greater Minnesota;” they can call the Salvation Army at 437-4566, extension 101; or stop by the Salvation Army at 704 10th St NE.

Some organizations also offer challenges to see who can raise the most, such as the Austin Fire Department and the Austin Police Department.