A local bar is getting into the holiday spirit by giving back to the community

It's become a tradition for them.They'll be donating all of their tips Monday to teens in local shelters.
For Ben Kazda, the holidays are about giving back.

"I came from a poor background. I know what it is to have a lighter Christmas," says Ben Kazda, bartender and manager at Dig Pub.

He has given to charities before, but it was about seven years ago when he thought of doing something bigger.

He decided to donate his tips from one night to those less fortunate. It has evolved since then.

"Oh yea, the crowds definitely grown. People really get into it. It means a lot to everybody, especially this time of year," Tom O'neill, donated.

"I actually saved money throughout the year to help support this. Ben's going to get a pretty big tip from me and I've invited as many of my friends as possible," Rob Colomina, donated.

For the past few years, everyone at Dig Pub has donated their tips from one night. This year it took place on Monday. The money is used to buy gift cards for teens living in shelters. On top of that, 15 percent of all sales are also donated to the cause. 

"I think so much pressure is put on buying the perfect gift, the right gift, and a lot of times it's not about the perfect gift. It's the heart that comes behind it. By doing this, I don't need to be the forefront of attention but it's fun on the other hand, to have the influence and see how big this has gotten over the past five years," says Kazda.

The Salvation Army says this was a definite need for their shelter. Their Angel Tree program only provides gifts to children up through age 12. Kazda wanted to make sure the teenagers weren't left out.

"What it says to these teenagers living in shelters is, somebody cares about me, somebody loves me, I'm not alone, I'm being taken care of," says Jan Gunter, communications director, Salvation Army Austin.

There are about 60 teens that will be helped through Monday's community-wide effort. Last year was their biggest year yet, more than $5 thousand was raised.They hope to surpass that.

"This is such a great example of one person seeing a need and realizing what they can do to make a difference," says Gunter.

They hope it will motivate others to do the same.

If you couldn't make it out but still want to donate, go to www.salvationarmyaustin.org.

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