Elks deliver holiday food baskets
Greenfield Elks Club members Ed Underwood , left, George Hall , with food basket, and George Herzig, deliver to one of the recipients on their list, Caitlyn Sheped at Oak Courts in Greenfield on Saturday morning.
Greenfield Elks Club members George Herzig, Jim Williams, and Mike Gauthier deliver one of the Christmas dinner food baskets to the Covalenko family on Saturday morning.
GREENFIELD — Elks were sighted in neighborhoods all around town and across the county Saturday morning.
Though wildlife will often go into populated areas seeking sustenance in the winter, these Elks were bringing food right to people’s doorsteps.
“We’ve been delivering holiday food baskets to the needy since 1975,” said Fred Ulrich, lodge secretary of the Greenfield Lodge of Elks. “Every year we deliver 50 baskets. Each one is a complete holiday meal.”
That means 50 Franklin County families got a turkey, vegetables, potatoes, pie and, of course, cranberry sauce — a holiday meal they might not afford on their own.
The baskets are purchased with club funds, and about 30 members get together to load and deliver the baskets, usually the Saturday before Christmas. Co-chairs Tim and George Herzig coordinate the effort, which sends more than a dozen cars and trucks out all across the county to deliver the bounty.
“We find a lot of the families through members and the Salvation Army,” said Ulrich. “We try to make sure we reach the people who really need it.”
Ulrich said the basket delivery is usually the club’s last charitable event of the year, but the club gives back to the community year-long.
It’s been a reciprocal relationship with the county. Ulrich said the community always steps up and digs deep when the club holds public fundraisers.
“Everything we raise goes back to the community,” said Ulrich. Greenfield Elks focus their efforts west of the Connecticut River, while the Montague and Athol-Orange lodges take care of the east side of the county.
“We give out scholarships in the spring to students in the high schools in our jurisdiction,” he added.
Some of the club’s charitable endeavors take them out of the county, too.
Every spring, the Elks hold a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Each November, the club puts on a dinner and casino night for patients of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Leeds.
The Greenfield Lodge of Elks has a long history of service to the community. The lodge was founded in 1913, and will celebrate its centennial Jan. 7. Ulrich has been busily compiling the club’s history, from minutes, pictures and other documents that were previously buried in boxes in the basement of the lodge.
The Greenfield Lodge of Elks has a busy year ahead of them, as they look back on their 100-year history, and forward to the years of giving still to come.
David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279