With Christmas a little more than two weeks away, holiday parades are in full swing.
But on Dec. 9, members of an Auburn parade set out with the spirit to help others.
It's a parade that brings the community out, and has parade participants stepping up to help out a good cause.
The Auburn Tourism Commission is taking donations to help Shriners Hospitals for Children.
"All the funds they raise are for anything the hospital needs. They always check with the hospital to see if there's anything they need help with. They take these funds and apply them to the Lexington hospital," explained Mike Mathews, potentate for the Rizpah Shrine Temple in Madisonville, KY.
The Shriners promote friendship, morality and brotherly love, and their hospitals make sure children needing burn or orthopedic treatment get the attention they need--and at no cost.
"The unique thing about Shriners Hospital is we don't have a cash register. There's no billing department. Everything we do is completely free of charge for patients and they're families," Mathews added.
It's a challenge, but a necessity for those like Katy Melikant, who was born with a disorder that kept her foot from growing bones, making Katy an amputee patient at eleven months old.
"For me, it means better quality legs. Shriner's does a great job. But it's very expensive to make prosthetics, no matter what level or quality," admitted Melikant, a Shriner Hospital patient.
And members of the commission say the generosity of the community makes those expenses easier.
"It's just a given. 'You're taking donations for the hospital?' people ask. Of course they want to give. It's an easy thing. People are very generous," assured Jana Hanks, with the Auburn Tourism Commission.
And that helps Katy, who says it's the quality of the Shriners Hospitals that she loves.
"They just seem to care more about how the person feels. Not about getting what they need to get done," she said.
On Sunday, the Shriners were presented with a check for nearly $6900.
They estimate more than $20,000 has been raised in the ten years that the tourism commission has helped the Shriners organization.
ON THE WEB: