When the Sun City Elks Lodge No. 2559 volunteers launched their annual 3-tier December holiday programs, Christmas got a little brighter this year for hundreds of school students and families.
Funded by an Elks National Foundation grant and member donations, December’s first activity was the purchase of hundreds of local area fast-food restaurant gift cards with an Elks holiday greeting. Presentation was to the HART Pantry organization, serving 230 weekend food bags and 400 snack-supper bags to at risk students ages 13-19 when school meals are not available.
Next came the afternoon children’s clothing shopping spree and evening party. Fifty elementary students identified in need by school resources were accompanied by 100 Elks members on a $6500 shopping trip to JC Penny’s children’s department. Clothing head-to-toe and winter outerwear were all selected by the children with funds provided by various Elk Lodge clubs, activities and the Arizona Elks Association’s social welfare committee.
Returning to the Lodge, there was a “kid-friendly” dinner with Santa for the energetic little shoppers and somewhat weary adults. Ornaments taken from the lobby Christmas tree by Lodge members produced three wrapped gifts of toys per child from Santa’s pack.
The lodge’s holiday giving finale was the family food basket program. Working with the Salvation Army for recipients, Elks volunteers purchased and collected groceries that filled boxes for struggling families who would go without a holiday dinner.
The Order of Elks was originally founded in 1868 to provide community service and to help those less fortunate in time of need. The Sun City Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks members dedicate themselves to those founding principles and more. Through its Community Activities Committee, the Lodge ensures a link for service in the surrounding communities keeping the spirit of Christmas alive throughout the year.