St. Louis #9 worked with a maternity home organization, Our Lady’s Inn. They have two facilities – one in St. Louis and one in St. Charles County. These facilities house women who are pregnant, along with any other children they may have, who have been abused and homeless and need security and help to reestablish their lives in a productive manner. This is the fourth Spotlight Grant we have had to work with this organization. Again, this year instead of assuming the items needed, we specifically asked what items they needed. They had a great need for diaper wipes, women’s slippers and pack and play sheets. Since this grant has a literacy requirement, we also purchased over books so each mother will be receiving to begin their own personal library for their child/children.

What local need was met?

This is helping pregnant women who need help to reestablish their lives to raise their baby and any other children. The children and mothers are excited to receive the books to have for themselves. We work with the social workers at the organization to stress the importance of reading to children even as an infant. Most of the women at the shelters never expected to be there and are grateful for the opportunity to regroup and start fresh. Knowing there is community support also helps these women rebuild their lives.

Please explain how Elks were involved.
Since Our Lady’s Inn had specific requests, we used the grant resources to provide the items. We had educators select the books from Half Price Books that were appropriate for children from birth to 5 years old. All the diaper wipes were delivered to the lodge and members helped load them in the car for delivery. The grant money was divided to provide the maximum amount of each item. The lodge purchased 25 boxes of diaper wipes, approximately 140 books, 24 pairs of slippers, and 33 packages of pack and play sheets. Each pack and play sheet package had from 1 – 3 sheets in each package.

What were the project’s successes?

The items were delivered to the central office of Our Lady’s Inn to be distributed to their two facilities. Since this is the fourth year we have worked with the organization, the organization understands the Elks is striving to make a difference in our community. When the itemss the were delivered, one of the workers asked how we chose their organization to partner with the Elks. I explained an Elk member had recommended Our Lady’s Inn and other workers there then realized they knew quite a few Elk members in our community. This is also showing our lodge is following Randy Shook’s charge to not be quiet about our work in our communities, but to be proud of the work our lodge is doing.

How did the Lodge react to the project? What feedback did you receive from Lodge members and the community?

Members like this grant and when I mentioned how many books purchased, they were pleased. We worked with Half Price Books to make the book purchases. They were generous to give us another 10% off all the books purchased. That allows the lodge to purchase more. The director of Our Lady’s Inn when we told her about what the lodge would be donating replied, “Wow! I am overwhelmed by the generosity.” As members were in the bookstore purchasing books, other customers asked what was the purpose of buying so many books. This is always an opportunity to explain the benevolent aspect of being an Elk.

Final Report submitted by Doug McWard on Jan 22, 2024 11:32 AM.


Spotlight Grant activity. St. Louis #9 used the Spotlight Grant to support necessary baby supplies and books for Our Lady’s Inn. Our Lady’s Inn is a maternity home for abused women. We asked our members to donate items or to donate cash which the committee could use to purchase additional items. Many members who did not know exactly what to purchase choose to donate cash. We partnered with Half Price Books to make the book purchases. Half Price Books allowed us to receive an additional 10% off the total amount which gave us over $70 in additional funds for books. While the total number of books purchased and collected exceeds 275, the staff at Half Price Books acknowledged the importance of getting books to the babies and children at Our Ladies Inn and facilitated our efforts. Without the support of our members this effort would not be possible.

With Covid still in the St. Louis area, we are only able to drop off the donations but the attached letter from Our Lady’s Inn does express their appreciation.

What local need was met? Our Lady’s Inn ( is a maternity home for pregnant women and their dependent children who are homeless or in crisis. This organization is accredited and highly respected in our area. Since the pandemic the need to help these women is even greater and rising costs is also presenting challenges as the organization helps provide a safe home and training for these women. Our Lady’s Inn also has received high ratings on and Since these women are in distress their identity cannot be revealed and Lodge members cannot go to the facility, but the donations are very necessary for the work of this organization.

How Elks were involved. The Lodge members were requested by announcements and Facebook postings to provide baby items and books. It was also announced at all Lodge meetings in December and January. We have several members who are educators who participated in selecting the purchased books. Through their efforts, St. Louis Lodge #9 was able to provide over 20 books for each women at the shelter to help develop a personal children’s library. We were able to purchase 24 boxes of diapers intended to provide an entire month’s worth of diapers for a child. In addition, members donated additional boxes of diapers and diaper wipes, and other baby items. Diaper wipes and baby body and shampoo were also purchased. These are essential items to meet the goals of the Spotlight Grant in providing the baby supplies and helping the literacy among these children.

What were the project’s successes? Successes were it appealed to several new members who made significant donations and donations of time in selecting the books. Finding projects that new members can immediately become involved with the Lodge helps engage these members from the beginning. It also helps reinforce with all members the important benevolent work that Elks Lodges are committed to perform.

How did the Lodge react to the project? What feedback did you receive from Lodge members and the community? The Lodge was very receptive to this project. As previously mentioned some members gave cash to help purchase items as they were unsure of what to purchase. Other members went through the children’s books at home and made donations, some members helped make the purchases. One of the educators selecting the books said she felt she was contributing and looking through all the books reminded her of purchasing and reading books to her children and grandchildren.

Final Report submitted by Jane Schnettler January 27, 2022 11:48 AM.