With the increased cost of food, St. Louis #9 used the Beacon Grant to purchase food for Parkway Food Pantry. Parkway Food Pantry helps approximately 2,000 families in the Parkway school district. It should be noted that the Parkway Food Pantry is located at Parkway Northeast Middle School which is just down the road from St. Louis Lodge #9, less than a mile. The school district is where our St. Lodge #9 members live and work. Approximately one-third of the population represent children attending this school district. Some of their most pressing needs were for 135 bottles laundry detergent for the beginning of the school year. Although, food was used in the the original Beacon Grant request, I contacted Elks National Foundation’s Sam Kayuha about also using grant funds to purchase the liquid laudndry detergent requested by the food pantry. His response was “Thanks for reaching out. It’s fine to purchase the detergent—we trust the partner organization to request the most needed items. For changes like that, please just send an email to this address so we have the change in writing.” The focus was on helping feed children when the school were not in session, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday.

What local need was met?

One of the most critical needs has been food instability for families with the increase in the cost of even basic food items. St. Louis County has a poverty level of over 10% and Circle of Concern is helping service these families as well as families who children of part of the voluntary program for St. Louis City children to attend schools in the county. Circle of Concern has a program to vet the families applying for support to help insure the proper families are receiving the aid. In the Parkway School district, which is the school district where our lodge is located, over 30% of their students are eligible for the Free and Reduced lunch programs. Veteran families in the service area are eligible to apply if eligible but are not specifically singled out as a group.

Please explain how Elks were involved.

Each month we challenged our members through Facebook, our newsletter and e-mail blasts to bring food for the food drive. The goal was to get one item of food for every member in our lodge. Some months we struggled to meet this goal and other months we exceeded our goal. It was very beneficial during new member initiations to be able to talk about the food drive and its importance in fulfilling the benevolent activities of the Elks. The visual of seeing members bring in food and place the food in the bin was also a reminder to other members to make their contributions.

What were the project’s successes?

The success was getting members to help donate food. Maybe not every member donated, but it was a constant reminder of why we are members of the Elks and the importance of reaching out to our community. It is also a reminder to our members that there are families that are struggling and need our help. The principal and Student resource Officer mentioned importance of this endeavor.

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 #9 for a number of years. Every year the grants committee is asked when the food drive will begin. This indicates the food drive is important to our members. Our new members spearheading the food drive really stepped up to continue the good work which was done in the past and brought a new energy to the table this year. We hope to get more people involved next year.

Final Report submitted by Doug McWard on Jan 31, 2024 3:53 PM.


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.