EDISON, NJ — The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks dates back to 1868. Perhaps it’s due to the organization’s long history and dedication to helping others that Edison’s chapter has managed to find ways to continue to help and entertain the community throughout the pandemic.
The Elks kept Edison residents’ spirits buoyed with autumn events like End of the Pandemic Summer Bash, Thirsty Thursday, Soup Night, Chili Night, Oktoberfest and Trunk and Treat. The festivities continued into the winter with fun holiday contests requesting photos of Ugly Christmas Sweaters, Deck the Paws (for pets), and Gingerbread Houses.
In between scheduling activities and contests for the community, the Elks worked diligently raising funds and applying for grants so they could donate money to local food pantries.
Edison Elk Secretary Ron Hayes shared, “Edison Elk’s Lodge #2487 has a Charity Committee that raises funds to donate to charitable causes and local community needs.”
He explained that the committee raises money through a state-licensed pull tab machine in their Social Quarters. The Elks knew that many residents were suffering from food insecurity. “During the Coronavirus pandemic, the Committee has focused on local food pantries to try to help them with the increased need with so many people out of work.”
Hayes reported that the Committee has donated $300 several times to each of the following food pantries, totaling $5,400, since the COVID began last March:
- Edison’s St. Vincent DePaul Society
- Edison’s St. Matthew Church
- Edison’s Guardian Angel Church
- Edison’s Community Presbyterian Church
- Edison’s James Episcopal Church
- Presbyterian Church of Metuchen
Hayes stated, “The Lodge has also obtained two $2,000 community grants from the Elks National Foundation.”
The first grant was received in June, and each of the six food pantries received $333.00.
The lodge also just received a second grant that they applied for and plan to distribute the funds to the food pantries.
In addition, the Edison Elks chapter obtained another Elks National Foundation Grant in the amount of $3,500. The Lodge’s Women’s Auxiliary and Lodge members used that grant money to put together eight Thanksgiving food baskets and eight Christmas baskets. Elks members distributed the holiday baskets to families in need.
Hayes described the contents of the baskets. “The baskets included nonperishable goods, supplies and gift cards so the families could buy perishable goods too.”
The organization plans to assemble more baskets for Easter of 2021 for families in need. Hayes said that Edison residents notify them of families in need.
According to the national Elk’s website, Elk Lodges “are places where neighbors come together, families share meals, and children grow up.”
The site also proudly says, “Elks invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of today’s veterans, and improve the quality of life.”
Edison’s Elks Lodge spent 2020 working arduously to obtain grants and plan activities that helped community members who needed food and brought smiles to those in need of cheering up during the long pandemic.
Click HERE for more information about the Edison Elks.