SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Elks #2298 will hold a basket auction on Friday, Sept. 25 to benefit the lodge’s Bob and Antoinette Eckenstein Vocational Scholarship Fund. Proceeds from the fundraiser will enable the Elks to provide at least four, $1,000 scholarships to South Plainfield students who plan to further their education in the vocational/technical field.  

“The Elks are a charitable organization and we are dedicated to helping to kids in the community,” Peter Smith, committee chair for the Eckenstein Vocational Scholarship Fund and past president of the New Jersey State Elks Association. “I myself am blue collar and work in the vocational field and there a not a lot of opportunities available for students who attend vocational schools.”

Friday’s Basket Auction will take place at the South Plainfield Senior Center, beginning at 6 p.m. At press time, close to 200 baskets will be auctioned off with prizes ranging from $25 to $500. There will be baskets Coach, Dooney & Bourke, Arbonne, Mary Kay, Harley Davidson, NJ Devils, NY Jets, Philadelphia Flyers, Party Lite, Creative Memories, Close to My Heart, Vera Bradley, Samsung and Yankee Candle as well as car care, baby/kid, holiday, money trees, jewelry, sports, lottery, health clubs and scrapbooking. Additionally, there will be gift cards from local restaurants and businesses 

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The late Bob Eckenstein, a member of the Elks for more than 30 years, was an Exulted Ruler and former Secretary of the lodge and his late wife Antoinette was a member and president of the lodge’s Ladies Auxiliary. Smith noted that the scholarship was named in honor of the Eckensteins because of their dedication and involvement with the Elks for many years.

“They always did all they could to help those less fortunate,” he said. “Our goal is to fund this scholarship so that we can continually support the youth of South Plainfield. The more money we raise, the more scholarships we can give.”

Earlier this year, the New Jersey State Elks Association adopted a vocation scholarship and will also distributing $24,000 in scholarships throughout the state. Additionally, on a local front, Flanagan’s Restaurant and Pub has also been a supporter of the Vocational Scholarship Fund, donating 20-percent of food sales from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. every fourth Wednesday of the month. Patrons only need to mention the Elks and Flanagan’s will handle the rest.

“John and Chris have been very supportive of us. It is a great marriage between a charitable organization and a local business,” said Smith.

Tickets for the Bob and Antoinette Eckenstein Vocational Scholarship Fund Basket Auction are $15 (payable by cash only) at the door and include admission and one sheet (26)  Level 1 prize raffle tickets. Additional sheets of tickets for other prize levels can be purchased at the auction and are as follows: Level 1 (baskets valued at $25 or less): $5 per sheet (26 tickets); Level 2 (baskets valued from $26 to $40): $10 per sheet (26 tickets); Level 3 (baskets valued from $51 to $150): $15 per sheet (26 tickets); and Grand Prize (for baskets valued higher than $150): $5 each ticket or 3/$10.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the auction begins at 7:30 p.m. Please note, this event is for adults only; no guests under 18 years of age will be permitted. Attendees are welcome to bring their own snacks. For information, email mssaw63@yahoo.com or call (908) 656-4041.