Volunteers from Elks Lodge #26 located at 99th & Holmes helped fill over 130 large boxes with food, toiletries and toys for needy families in the area. Photo by John Carmody.
Over 130 families receive Baskets for Christmas from Elks Lodge #26
By Kathy Feist
Photos by John Carmody
Over 130 Baskets for Christmas were given away to families in need at Elks Lodge #26 located off 99th and Holmes Rd. Elks volunteers were joined by Boy Scout Troop #1062 whose young members hauled the oversized deliveries full of goodies to recipients’ cars. The boxes were stuffed with over 30 food items for a Christmas dinner, plus toiletries, crayons and coloring books. This year the donations also included stuffed animals.
The Elks received help from Sav-A-Lot groceries, Sun Fresh and U.S. Toy as well as members and their associations.
The Elks have been raising money for this annual event by holding a silent auction and raffles throughout the year.
“The only thing the Elks Lodge is for is community benevolence,” explains Sandy Sharkey who helps with the drive. In fact, the abbreviation BPOE associated with the Elks stands for Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. The national club of close to a million members has a mission to help veterans, youth and the community.
Kansas City’s Elks Lodge #26 was formed in 1844 and is one of the oldest lodges in the United States. It was the 26th lodge formed soon after the Elks originated in 1842 out of New York City. Harry Truman was a member of #26 when the lodge was located in downtown Kansas City.
Today, the lodge has 380 members. They meet on the first and third Thursday of each month.
On this particular Sunday, while some members were in the auditorium helping with the donations, just as many were gathered around a bar in the private lounge to watch the Chiefs game and eat a potluck buffet of chili and spicy chicken. Food and drink and fellowship is just as big a part of belonging to the Elks as the act of community service. Special events and dinners for members –the club has a full kitchen and bar–take place throughout the month.
Sharkey says she is looking forward to the next big event in February when the Elks sponsor international speaker Ray Lazano who will talk to students about drugs.
The lodge is open every day to members starting at 3 pm.
The location sits on 10 acres and includes a small playground for children and an outdoor barbecue.
“They didn’t have to ask me twice to join,” said Sharkey, who likes the “feel good moments” from doing charity work as well as the benefits the lounge offers.
While the lounge is for members only, the auditorium space is open for public events and can be rented out for weddings, fundraisers, and parties.
Elks Lodge #26 is located at 515 E 99th St. For more information, contact 816-942-2443 or www.elks.org.