Holiday delivery via the Elks
GREENFIELD — More than 40 needy families will enjoy a full Christmas feast, thanks to several selfless Elks.
The Greenfield Lodge of Elks has delivered holiday meals to the needy in time for Christmas for longer than most of its members have been in the club.
Saturday morning, 20 lodge members stuffed turkey baskets into cars, SUVs and pickup trucks, and brought meals to 42 Franklin County families. Wes Clark has been delivering with the club for 47 years, and said the tradition predates him.
“Everyone looks forward to it; we never have to look for help to pull it off,” said Clark. “It feels nice to be able to give something to people who might have nothing for the holidays.”
The donated dinners were each delivered in a laundry basket, a bounty sure to make for leftovers.
“Each had a 20-pound turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, carrots, cranberry sauce, a pie, a big bag of rolls and a gallon of milk,” Clark said. All they’ve got to do is cook it.
He said there’s always a lot of gratitude from those they help and a lot of big smiles when they show up at a family’s door.
“One young mother today had three small kids, and the looks on their faces were just so happy,” said Clark. “We get a lot of satisfaction from what we do for the community.”
Though it can be emotional, he said, people are more often happy than overwhelmed. They’re notified ahead of time, too, so they’re not completely caught off-guard.
The Elks try to pick new families every year, with recommendations coming from club members, as well as the local housing authority, school department, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County.
Clark said getting together to give back brings the club’s members close, and they have a lot of fun raising money through their events.
The rest of the year, the Elks give out scholarships to area high school students, work with veterans, and have an annual fundraiser for Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital coming up in February.
Though the holidays are nearly done, winter is just beginning, and people are in need year-round. Though the Elks’ charitable efforts are funded by members, there are plenty of opportunities for the rest of us to give, especially in these cold months.
“I think people would be surprised if they knew how many people are in need around here,” Clark said.
You can reach David Rainville at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-772-0261, ext. 279