For the third year running, Cedar Park bartender Ben Kazda is donating all of the tips he receives tonight at the Dig Pub to the Austin Shelter for Women and Children, run by the Salvation Army, to buy gift cards for teenagers living in the shelter this holiday season.
His fundraising goal is $5,000 — rather lofty, it might appear, for a Monday night, but Kazda was able to pull together $3,800 last year, far higher than his goal of $1,400. A waitress and the bar’s owners also contributed money to the donation pot, and customers arrived nonstop since the bar opened at 4 p.m. that day, eager to help out after hearing about his selfless project.
This year, he and the rest of the bar’s staff plan to give up all their tips to the Salvation Army’s shelter, and just like last year, the owners of the Dig Pub, an archaeological-themed craft beer bar in the Cedar Park area, will donate 15 percent of all Monday sales to the big giving effort.
He said in an Austin American-Statesman story last year that giving up all of a night’s tips isn’t “much of a sacrifice” for him, especially after a hard childhood — and the donations certainly help out the teens, Stacy Schwarz, director of the Austin Shelter for Women and Children, said in a press release. They’re able to buy items from their favorite stores, like Aeropostale, Game Stop and Old Navy, something they don’t get to do often living in a shelter. (The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program provides gifts for children 12 and under, but there isn’t a program in place for teens.)
“This was a definite need for our shelter, and Ben’s work over the last few years has transformed the holidays for these teens,” she said in the press release.
The fundraising effort will run from the bar’s opening at 4 p.m. today to close at 11 p.m. The Dig Pub is a craft beer bastion, so expect lots of good beer if you decide to go. For more information about the bar, visit thedigpub.com. For more information about the shelter, visit salvationarmytexas.org.