Arlene Austin of Mabel enjoys volunteering and finds the Salvation Army to be one of her favorite opportunities. She said the organization is truly a benefit for Fillmore County.  DAVID STOEGER/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
Arlene Austin of Mabel enjoys volunteering and finds the Salvation Army to be one of her favorite opportunities. She said the organization is truly a benefit for Fillmore County. DAVID STOEGER/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
Arlene Austin is a busy person. She and her husband grow corn and beans on their farm north of Mabel. She does not miss her two grandsons’ football, baseball and basketball games. She chairs the Newburg United Methodist Women’s group along with teaching in the church’s Wednesday Club program. She volunteers at the Mabel Area Food Shelf. She has also found a passion representing Mabel in the Salvation Army of Fillmore County.
“I like volunteering, period, because it makes you feel good. I like to help people,” Austin said. “I think we need to give back. Sometimes people need help — and we need to help.”
Austin said she first became involved in the Salvation Army through the previous pastor of her church. It was then she realized she shared many of the values of the organization. “It’s really a good thing in Fillmore County,” she added.
“Salvation Army gives money to each school in Fillmore County to help defray the cost of milk breaks for some families. It’s just a nice thing because otherwise some kids may not get to have this,” Austin said of just one of the many beneficial functions of the Salvation Army.
“Becky (her daughter) and I served root beer floats at Green Lea Manor, which was paid for by the Salvation Army. We had ice cream left (and we) went through The Meadows and knocked on doors. It was just kind of a neat thing,” Austin added.
Other services the organization provides include trips to doctor’s appointments and job interviews, “Shop with a Cop” for third graders and many other services.
“It’s a good organization. When we ring the bells (at Christmas time), almost all the money stays in Fillmore County. So it’s become important to me,” Austin said.
Of the many activities in the Salvation Army, Austin said she finds the most rewarding is giving away Thanksgiving and Easter baskets.
“They spend approximately $30 on it and it’s a nice meal. When you send out the letters and the people come to get it, its wonderful,” she said. “You know that it’s appreciated and it’s needed.”
Austin said more volunteers are needed for the Salvation Army in the Mabel area. She added she would welcome anyone interested in going to the monthly Salvation Army meetings in Preston to go with her. These meetings take place on the fourth Thursday morning of each month.