Can-Do Spirit Raises Nearly $1 Million for Shriners Children’s
Fundraising for Shriners Children’s in Champaign County, located in West Central Ohio, is truly a labor of love. Emphasis on “labor.”
Every week since 1984, nobles with the Champaign County Shrine Club have collected between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds of aluminum cans.
“Three days per week we drive around the county,” Noble Rob Butler explained. “We stop at bars, golf courses and other clubs, and get whatever cans they have for us.”
Depending on the price of aluminum, the can collection generates $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Most of that is donated to Shriners Children’s Ohio, with some funds going to Shriners Children’s Lexington, depending on the need.
To date, the can collection has brought in more than $900,000 for Shiners Children’s. Jim Cordial, who has been a Shriner for five years, is quick to give credit to the local businesses.
“We tell them about the kind of kids we’re helping, and they don’t hesitate to support us in any way they can,” Cordial said. “We couldn’t do this without the commitment of Champaign County.”
Butler credits both the community and the healthcare system’s 101-year legacy for their fundraising success.
“The truck that collects the cans, the signs at auctions or golf outings all say the same thing: ‘Shriners Hospitals for Children,’” he said. “It reminds every Shriner, his family and the community about why they’re doing this.”
That commitment is apparent in the Shrine club’s other grassroots fundraisers.
One of the most popular items at a recent charity auction was inspired by a beloved child’s toy and Shriners Children’s mascot: a teddy bear. Heidi Whitt wanted something special to donate to a fundraiser for the Champaign County Shrine Club, where her husband is a noble. So she turned to her daughter, Kali.
"She's been crocheting since she was 6 years old, and I had this thought she could make something unique," Heidi recalled. The idea came to her while watching a commercial for Shriners Children's. "I saw the Fezzy blanket and knew a bear was a perfect fit," she said.
Kali got right to work and devoted an entire day to knitting. On the day of the auction, Heidi and Kali weren't expecting the bear to be a high-priced item, but they were wrong. "The auctioneer had the bear and the bids just kept coming," Heidi said. The final bid came in at $1,060.
"We were in shock and so excited," she recalled.
Heidi said supporting the Shrine club and the hospital has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.
"I've seen the level of care Shriners provides, so helping support that in a small way gives me peace of mind," she said.
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