Elks gift baskets overflow with toys & food – Warwick Beacon

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There were unlimited toys and food last week downstairs at the Tri-City Elks.
“This is like being in the North Pole,” said Betty “Missy” Belmore as she looked over the …
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There were unlimited toys and food last week downstairs at the Tri-City Elks.
“This is like being in the North Pole,” said Betty “Missy” Belmore as she looked over the extraordinary collection of toys, games, dolls, sports equipment and just about everything a child could wish for at Christmas.
Likewise, the spacious room that hosts weddings, anniversary partiers and many other special social events resembled a food warehouse.
When Lodge 14 members walked into the room, they saw nearly 50 empty Rubbermaid laundry baskets on top of chairs. The room looked like Toys “R” Us, Walmart and Santa’s workshop.
In the middle of it all was Dawn Kidd and Beth Marsh, Tri-City members who co-chaired Lodge 14’s Holiday Toy & Food Drive.
Soon thereafter, almost two dozen people – who were armed with lists for the numbered baskets – went from table to table picking everything from toiletries to paper towels and a variety of non-perishable foods and began filling the baskets.
In keeping with tradition, the Kidd and Marsh-led volunteers used Lodge 14’s unique system of filling the food baskets and, within a matter of time; every basket was overflowing with food.
“The ladies love doing this and have a special system,” said Mike Marsh Tri-City’s House Committee Chairman who, like other helpers, was impressed with a system Kidd devised quite some years ago. “The ladies know what they are doing – for sure.”
Moreover, it was as someone suggested “our tenth Holiday Cheer program and Dawn – with Beth – have it down to a science.”
People marveled at the collection that placed on top and underneath eight-foot-long banquet tables. There were so many toys, volunteers had to put them in extra-large plastic bags and, once filled, were placed next the overflowing food baskets.
“We enjoy helping people in need,” Kidd, who doubles as an Elk and popular bartender at Lodge 14, offered. “It gives everyone a special feeling at Christmas.”
This year’s food and toy collection may have smashed all previous records, but how and where does the food and toys come from?
Lodge 14 receives a grant from the Elks National Foundation each year to purchase toys. Also, members who attended the recent Toy Drive Dinner Party brought at least one new unwrapped toy but, in most cases, epitomized Tri-City’s credo Elks Care, Elks Care perhaps unlike previous collections. Many members also make monetary donations to purchase $25 gift cards to Stop & Shop for each basket.
Meanwhile, Lori Eaton, a past Exalted Ruler explained, “We’ve been doing this every year and do so to help the children of our community. We try to find people who need this the most.”
Lodge 14 added another special success story to its tradition rich history book and even the toy and food basket distribution is unique, as members personally deliver the baskets in the strictest confidence for each and every family who they want to have the merriest of Christmases this year.
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