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Shriners boost Christmas kettle drive

A white Christmas might be a dream to some people, but the piles of snow haven’t helped the Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle efforts this year.

Major Marlys Anderson, of Austin's Salvation Army, said the drifting snow has made it impossible for some volunteer bell ringers to even get to their stations in town.

"We are way behind because of the weather this year," she said.

But the weather didn't keep away members of the Austin Shrine Club, who visited the Salvation Army Corps Community Center on Tuesday afternoon.

This year, with their donation and what was collected on Dec. 3, the Shriners raised more than $3,250. The amount was matched by Minnesota Masonic Charities, increasing their donation to $6,500. Shriner Neil Hanson presented the check from Minnesota Masonic Charities to Anderson. Other Shriners at the presentation were Norman Hecimovich, Malcolm McDonald, Max Pecht, Bill Newell, Dean Johnson and Charles Van House.


Since the mid-1950s, the Austin Shrine Club has supported the Salvation Army by making the first donation to their annual red kettle campaign. In addition, Shriners rang bells throughout the community on the first Friday of December.

Minnesota Masonic Charities is a nonprofit organization that contributes to causes of all types. Matching funds for community food shelves is one of the organization's top outreach activities.

Anderson estimated that the kettle drive is still $10,000 behind its $40,000 goal for 2010. During the storm on Monday, the Army took in $450.

"We usually take in $1,200 on this day before Christmas," she noted.

There are eight bell ringing locations in Austin: Jim's Super Valu, Hy-Vee's east door, Hy-Vee's west door, ShopKo, Wal-mart's east door, Wal-mart west door, €¨Sterling Main Street, and Walgreens.

Cash donations can be made directly to the local Salvation Army by check, money order and credit card, as well as online at the unit’s website, www.secure20.salvationarmy.org/donation.jsp .

The Salvation Army Worship and Service Center is at 409 First Ave. N.E. in Austin.

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