Gratitude Grant activity. St. Louis Lodge #9 used the Gratitude Grant to purchase 35 backpacks and school supplies for each backpack for low income students attending Parkway Northeast Middle School. This school is less than a mile from our lodge. We then delivered the filled backpacks to the Creve Coeur Police resource officers for distribution. Normally, we would have actually been at the school to distribute the backpacks, but with Covid protocols we are unable to be in the school. We received support from Office Depot to help us purchase supplies at the lowest prices and without supply limitations. While shopping at Target several customers asked what we were doing and these customers were pleased and appreciated the efforts of our lodge to help support low icome students in our area. In the past the students were so appreciative when receiving the filled backpacks as they have a nice backpack to carry and with the supplies the students feel that they have what will help them succeed and fit into the school. When filling the backpacks members of our lodge help complete the task and loading them into the car to take to the Creve Coeur Police for distribution.

What local need was met? We were helping low income students have the required school supplies to help them succeed in their classrooms. No child likes to admit they do not have the supplies necessary to complete an assignment. Also, students want to feel they belong in their school communities and having a nice backpack and the necessary supplies can help them feel they truly belong to their school community. Many of the low income students attending Parkway Northeast Middle School are from the low income areas of the city of St. Louis and these students qualify for the free meal programs, therefore their parents do not have the money to provide the necessary school supplies. Some of the low income students are from immigrant families who have never had to purchase school supplies and do not understand the educational system their children are attending. No child wants to not feel they do not belong in the environment and teachers do not have the resources to provide the supplies for all of these students.

How Elks were involved. Our members were involved in purchasing th school supplies and backpacks. Then members were involved in filling the backpacks and helping delivery the backpacks to the Creve Coeur Police for distribution. This activity can attract members interested in youth and supporting youth in our community.

What were the project’s successes? This year we were able to provide more backpacks to low income students than ever before. Members helping fill the backpacks with supplies mentioned how much as being provided and how nice the backpacks were for the students. Retired teacchers who were helping knew the importance of this endeavor.

How did the Lodge react to the project? What feedback did you receive from Lodge members and the community? In the September newsletter, pictures of the evening where we filled the backpacks with supplies will be featured. The article will include how the success of the Gratitude Grant is dependent on the lodge members supporting ENF to achieve the three goals of per member amount of at least $4.80, 15% of membership contributing at least $10, and striving to have 5% of our membership join the Fidelity Club. We will also be posting pictures on our scrolling message board and on our Facebook page.

Final Report submitted by Jane Schnettler on Aug 16, 2021 2:58 PM.