Mineral Area Community Elks Lodge 2583 provided about 125 boxes of Christmas food to residents in need Tuesday morning.
Past Exalted Ruler Roland Seal said the lodge has been providing food to residents in need by working with East Missouri Action Agency for 20 years. Jan Cooley coordinates the project on the agency’s side, and the lodge receives the list of people from East Missouri Action Agency (EMAA) thanks to Project Head Start.
When they started the program, Seal said the first year about 10 boxes went out. The last few years, the lodge has put together 120 to 130 boxes for community members.
While the program was originally organized by Cathy Dickerson, this year the program had assistance with volunteers and local companies helping in various ways. The cost of the project was about $7,000.
The lodge partnered with Park Hills Save-A-Lot manager Jon Berry to get the food items and turkeys at a good price.
“In spite of current inflation prices Jon Berry at the Park Hills Save-A-Lot helped up meet our needs,” said Committee Chairwoman Erin Seiberlich, “and our lodge members helped us meet our monetary goal.”
Current grant coordinator and previous exalted ruler, Anna Kleiner, secured a grant from the Elks National Foundation, which helped boost the campaign funding. The lodge also had help from Debbie and Bill Wells who donated two Christmas wreaths for raffles. The program had the boxes donated by Ellie Tucker and Proffers, and had transportation help from Joe Skiles and CTI Transportation.
Each box contained food often associated with Christmas, and a voucher for a turkey to be redeemed at the Park Hills Save-A-Lot. Items include canned green beans, canned corn, canned cranberry sauce, canned yams, boxes of stuffing, and boxes of instant potatoes.
Southeast Missouri has some of the highest poverty rates in the state. EMAA has been helping residents in southeastern Missouri for more than 55 years, and annually serves more than 18,000 over the eight southeastern counties.
Danielle Thurman is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-518-3616.