To bring hope and holiday cheer to families needing assistance this holiday season, Elks volunteers supply food baskets, warm winter clothing, food and toys to families needing assistance that live in the Lake Almanor Basin area, as well as the towns of Clear Creek and Westwood. Photos by Stacy Fisher

Christmas Angels bring joy to local families

Teri and Jeff Lewis are in charge of the Christmas Angels’ food drive, delivering non-perishable goods as well as fresh food to families in need.

Jane Scott headed this year’s Christmas Angels program, an annual event sponsored by the Lake Almanor Elks Lodge No. 2626 in Chester. The program supplies food baskets to families living in the Lake Almanor Basin Area needing assistance, as well as the towns of Clear Creek and Westwood.

Additional donated items consist of warm winter clothing and toys.

Several members of the Elks and their spouses volunteered to wrap presents Dec. 13 for delivery the next day. Tables were laid out in the main room of the lodge, with each table dedicated to a particular family where the volunteers could package the donated items.

“This is our 11th year,” beginning in 2007, “that the Christmas Angels have been helping families in the community,” Scott said. “This year we’re serving 21 families and 49 children. Plus we’re giving away pet food provided by Treats to 13 dogs and seven cats.”

Elks member Jeff Lewis and his wife Teri are in charge of the food drive, Scott noted, collecting non-perishable goods that are stored in large boxes that they deliver to local families.

Chester Holiday Market also donates perishable foods: milk, butter, eggs, fruit, bread and ham, Scott remarked.

“We find the names of families who could use our help during the holiday season through the schools, and reach out to them,” she explained. Parents provide information on clothing sizes for their kids and what toys they’ve asked Santa for, “and then we assign a team of Elks to go out and do the shopping.”

The money for the purchase of merchandise and food that’s not donated from community sources comes from fundraisers throughout the year, like the Elks annual Christmas Angels soup tasting in October, “and then we also receive cash donations,” she added.

Said Scott, “We’re very thankful to the individuals in the community for their generosity. The merchants are very giving, too, by offering items for drawings that we sponsor at special events during certain times of the year to raise additional funds.”

Scott praised the Elks members who are happy to offer their assistance to the Christmas Angels cause.

“We have a group of very hard working members who volunteer their time and energy to help others,” she said, noting that their efforts come from the heart so others who may be less fortunate receive a dose of Christmas cheer.