Like all of our local service clubs, the Moose Jaw Shrine Club has been forced to think outside the box and find innovative ways to raise money in their efforts to meet their commitments to Shriners Hospitals for Children and local causes.
Looking back, starting their annual car raffle with a collector's edition Mustang in 2019 was a brilliant idea. The local Shriners were able to continue that effort during the pandemic in 2020 with their Little Red Corvette raffle and, this year, they're selling tickets for the 2000 Mellow Yellow Plymouth Prowler. It's a beautiful and rare automobile that comes with both hard and soft tops and very low numbers on the odometer.
We're featuring the Moose Jaw Shrine Club on our "Partner Profile" on 800 CHAB and DiscoverMooseJaw.com
Local businessman Aaron Ruston has been a member for four years and has enjoyed his time with the club.
"You know, for many years, I watched what the Shriners did and thought that would be great to be a part of the organization. I have a big heart for kids, and I wanted to be a part of something that has a great local impact as well. So, we do a lot of fundraising for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, but we also raise money for the travel fund so children who need care and their families can travel to and from our hospitals."
"It's amazing - the Shriners Hospitals really step up with great specialized care and, you know, I've met people - some even into their 60s and 70s who have been positively impacted by the Shriners and the Shriners Hospitals," Ruston said.
Shriners Hospitals for Children can be found in 22 locations including Montreal, Mexico City and Honolulu with the closest to us located in Twin Cities, Minnesota. They specialize in orthopedics, burn care, spinal cord injury, craniofacial, cleft lip/palate operations and sports injuries and fractures.
Ruston says the travel fund is always top of mind for the local Shrine Club.
"A lot of times one of the biggest impacts, when situations arise for local families, is the cost of travel. The Shriners step up with the travel fund which allows us to fund the travel costs for the children and family members to make sure they don't have to worry about those things. It's amazing how many stories there are of local families who have been greatly impacted and have had their travel costs covered by the Shrine Club so, it's wonderful," Ruston told us.
The local Shrine Club has presented a variety of fun events for the community over the years with a focus on raising funds - from soup and sandwich luncheons to dinners and dances but, most recently, it's the annual car raffle that has really taken off.
"This is our 3rd annual car raffle this year. We've had amazing success in the past, thanks to those who have participated and have wanted to be part of making a difference. It has allowed us to reach into different venues...car shows and events downtown where we sell the raffle tickets," Ruston explained.
This year, it's the 2000 "Mellow Yellow Plymouth Prowler" the Shriners are raffling off along with a 50-50. If it sells out, you could win $62,500. There are also consolation prizes in the car raffle of $2000.00 and $1000.00.
And Shriner Ruston wants to remind us that some of the money raised locally stays right here at home and helps them put on the annual Shrine Children's Festival which, again this year, will be presented virtually on the Shrine Club's Facebook page.
"Yes, after the Shrine Circus wound down, we knew we had to do something to make sure local children and their families know that we're here. So, the Children's Festival was something we've been able to have people get together for in the past but with the COVID situation we went to a virtual format last year and it'll be the same this year. It starts up this Saturday, July 31st and we'll continue for a total of four shows on four weekends before the end of summer," Ruston said.
The subsequent shows are slated for August 7th, August 14th and August 28th - all starting at 10:00 AM.
And he's urging local families to make sure the kids get registered to watch the shows because there are some big prizes up for grabs for participating children.
"Once the kids are registered, they can watch the shows and participate by earning points online. There are some really, really cool prizes including a beautiful bicycle donated by Stevenson and Son Flooring in Moose Jaw and we have an RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) for $1000.00 (sponsored by Purposed Financial)."
Shriner Ruston also wants the community to know they're recruiting new members these days. They're looking for younger men with energy and new ideas to keep the club vibrant.
"You know, we're coming up on our 70th year for the local club in 2022 and we've seen lots of people come and go...we're really excited about getting new people involved. There are some amazing things we're trying to get done...it's for the kids and we'd love to see new people come out," Ruston said.
The local Shrine Club also wants you to know their facility is for the community - it's not just their clubhouse. The hall is available for rent if you have meetings, a convention, a wedding or even a funeral service.
"We want people to know it's for them. If you don't need a massive hall, come on in," Ruston said.
And a reminder to contact a local Shriner to get your raffle tickets for the 2020 Mellow Yellow Plymouth Prowler along with your 50-50 tickets soon because the big give-a-way is coming up in September.
"We're gonna have a blowout!", Ruston promised.
"We'll be up at Murray GM September 18th...we're going to have a Show 'n Shrine Cruise. We're hoping to have some great cars out for the event. We'll have a big stage with a big sound system, and we'll rock the summer out. We'll kick off around 7:30 that night...we're gonna do it big time!"
If you'd like more information about the Moose Jaw Shrine Club - whether you'd like to join, rent the hall or get involved in any capacity, Shriner Ruston urges you to check out their website or look them up on Facebook.