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Elks programs support community needs

We all make sacrifices even in the best of times, whether in our relationships, for our children or for others in the community. The coronavirus has just made those personal sacrifices more challenging.

Elks Lodge no. 2626 in Chester had to cancel its St. Patrick’s Day celebration due to the current crisis; one of its biggest annual fundraisers. This means the Elks have less revenue to use for its local programs.

The Lake Almanor Elks sponsor programs that benefit families and individuals facing personal hardships by providing monetary assistance and other forms of aid.

The Elks normally host a number of community events, programs and fundraisers throughout the year, that benefit the community at large.

Helping to build stronger communities by investing in neighborhoods where Elks live and work is their stated purpose, noted Exalted Ruler Kathy Wasson.

She said with some fundraisers potentially put on hold, it is more difficult to raise the needed funds to continue the organization’s mission.

To mitigate hunger, for example, Elks raise hundreds of dollars to help purchase food items for area food pantries.

Wasson noted that Elks volunteers provide support to dozens of local families who live in the Almanor Basin, helping them make ends meet during the holiday months, for instance gathering winter clothing and toys every December for the Christmas Angels project.

Elks members help distribute firewood for home heating to people in the region who can’t afford to purchase their own, or haven’t the means or ability to cut down timber themselves.

But the assistance doesn’t end with the holiday season.

Throughout the year Elks sponsor a number of programs to bring in money to support a host of community needs. Elks volunteer to visit hospitalized veterans every year in August at a veteran’s hospital in Reno.

”The Elks support both active military forces and retired veterans,” said Wasson, furnishing food, comfort care items, therapeutic items and gifts, adding that their visits may include “putting on a big barbecue” while spending the day interacting with our veterans, many of whom have no relatives or friends to visit.

“It’s a way to form camaraderie with service men and women who may be alone and perhaps feel abandoned by society,” she said.

The Lake Almanor Fishing Association and the Elks arrange fishing trips and treat vets to a dinner in June.

Other initiatives include sponsoring the Wheel Around Lake Almanor bike ride fundraiser. Plus the Elks support educational advancement for students who show academic achievement with scholarship opportunities.

Wasson said the Elks want to assist families who may be having a difficult time, “perhaps there’s illness in the family, and so we seek to provide money for the day-to-day needs,” like a night in a hotel if a family member needs to travel for medical treatment.

The Lake Almanor Elks Lodge is located at 164 Main St., Chester. For information about the local organization, to become an Elks member and to donate, call 258-3557, or contact Exalted Ruler Kathy Wasson at 736-9172. Or email: [email protected].

To learn more about the organization visit: www.elks.org.

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