Tabs for the children

Area Shriners Charles Van House, from left, Ross Mickelsen and Bill Newell stand with 21 pails filled with pop tabs, collected as part of a fundraising effort for the Shriners Children's Hospital. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

One year and 21 six-gallon pails of pop can tabs later, Charles Van House is ready to haul in his collection and do his part.

Pop tabs fill 21 eight-gallon pails, collected as part of a fundraiser for the Shriners Children's Hospital.

Van House turns in tabs each year to raise money for Shriners Hospitals for Children. What started as a good-faith effort on Van House’s part has clearly rubbed off on the community. Last year Van House collected eight pails of tabs. Though that still equals a lot, it’s less than 40 percent of what he collected this year.

Collecting the tabs has become a regular gig for Van House, as every few weeks he stops by the clubs, bars, homes and churches of Austin that now fill cans for him.

Ask Van House, and he’d say he’s only trying to do his part in a nationwide effort to support kids with orthopedic and neuromusculoskeletal conditions — kids who need medical attention, special wheelchairs, and whose families need financial support.

“I want to emphasize that this is a children’s hospital,” Van House said.

As a member of the Shriners, Van House has seen the children that need his support, often confined to wheelchairs, some without any limbs. So among collecting tabs, he and other Shriners offer rides for families to the Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis and collect money for kids who need to see other Shriners specialty clinics around the nation.

“It takes an awful lot of money,” he said.

Shriners members support 22 hospitals around the country. Locally, the Shriners Oriental Band can raise a few more funds as a group; but as far as pop can tabs go, Van House can’t quite put figure to it. It’s simply too many tabs.

“If I started counting now, I’d never live long enough,” he said.

Even though Van House can’t count how many tabs he has, he knows he has more than 330 pounds of aluminum to load up and haul in. He hopes that, along with other local contributions, means one kid can get the special wheelchair he or she needs.

“The hospital is special to me, and the patients are special to me,” he said.

Anybody who wants to donate pop can tabs can contact the Austin Shrine Club or Van House.

Mower County

Honor those who served this Memorial Day

Education

‘Light the world on fire:’ Pacelli graduates the Class of 2024

Education

Signing ceremony a first step for students hoping to get into education

Education

Hook, line, and sinker – Lyle students made the best catch

Mower County

Austin Stormwater Resilience Plan – Open House slated for Tuesday

Mower County

Mueller awarded fellowship to attend leadership institute

Mower County

Nominations to open June 1 for APS Distinguished Alumni

Mower County

Great River Energy donates fire test hose station to Dexter Fire Department

Mower County

In Your Community: Austin Masons donated to area fire departments

Brownsdale

In Your Community: Brownsdale Study Club

Mower County

In Your Community: Duplicate Bridge

Education

Education Briefs:

News

National Guard joins search for 2 missing canoeists in BWCA

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Convictions: May 13-20

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Austin man charged with possessing child pornography

News

As Walz signs $30 million for rural EMS, providers worry it’s not enough

Education

SMEC graduates tell their own tales of success

Business

Company that owns Austin radio stations lays off on-air personalities, part of sweeping move

Mower County

Institute dedicated to moving forward despite missing out on bonding dollars

Mower County

Institute Community Outreach and Education manager receives grant to expand STEM education offerings

News

Tornado devastates Iowa town, killing multiple people as powerful storms rip through Midwest

Mower County

Unmarked grave of Civil War veteran who fought at Shiloh, among other battles, gets memorial plaque

Mower County

Tuesday storm knocks out power to many, downs trees and branches

Business

Going hog wild for ice cream