Beacon Grant activity. St. Louis Lodge #9 has partnered with the local food pantry, Circle of Concern, which services the Parkway and Rockwood School districts which are in our area. In addition to purchasing food requested by Circle of Concern, lodge members donated food to add to the items being purchased. St. Louis Lodge #9 is a major donor to Circle of Concern. The items requested by Circle of Concern are items not normally donated such as jelly and condiments. Circle of Concern vets all the families requesting aid and the number of eligible families keeps increasing with the continuing effects from the pandemic.

What local need was met? Unemployment due to many reasons during this pandemic and the after effects has made more families food challenged. Yes, food pantries get large donations at the holidays, but many of the items requested by Circle of Concern are not normally requested by the holiday food drives. While can goods are included in food drives, items such as cereal, condiments, pasta and jelly are not included. These are some of the most frequently requested items. But their needs are not just at the holiday time, but year round.

How were Elks were involved. In our lodge we have a food donation bin where our membership drop off any food items they wish to donate. We encourage our members to add items throughout the grant period. We encourage members to buy extra of an item on special at their grocery store to donate. We strive to donate from our members an equal amount of food to match the amount of food purchased from grant funds. With this being a continued activity from year to year, it helps keep our membership educated in the food challenges for families in areas you would not expect to be food challenged. When new members are initiated, we tell them this yearly food drive is a way every member can help embrace the Elks motto, Elks Care, Elks Share.

What were the project’s successes? We were successful in meeting the goals we had set when applying for the grant. This was to provide support for low income youth and families in our area by providing food to Circle of Concern. The grants committee give status updates at every lodge meeting during the grant period to help keep the members informed of what was needed by Circle of Concern and how they can help.

How did the Lodge react to the project? What feedback did you receive from Lodge members and the community? The food drive has been a major benevolent event at St. Louis Lodge #9 for a number of years. Most of our members are aware of the importance of helping food challenged families, including veterans, in our area. With the help of the grant money from ENF to supplement member donations of food, our lodge has become on of the largest supporters of Circle of Concern. Our current grant members spearheading this drive have decided to set down, but because of their leadership, the grants committee had three other members immediately willing to step up to lead the event for next year. This project helps unite all members of the lodge in a common goal.

Final Report submitted by Jane Schnettler December 28, 2021 2:26 PM.