UNION COUNTY — For the second time in less than a month the Union Elks Lodge #1321 has shown its commitment to serving their community, this time by buying 500 meals for Union County Meals on Wheels.
Meals on Wheels is an all-volunteer group that relies on private donations and fundraising events to enable it to achieve its goal of serving one hot meal a day five days a week to needy persons who have applied and met the group’s need criteria. During 2015, the all-volunteer group served 17,859 meals at a cost of $6,200 per month. The volunteers deliver meals along 10 routes in the Union and Buffalo communities serving approximately 75 people a day.
The group uses 99 percent of its budget to pay for the meals they deliver which are prepared by Midway BBQ.
Even though it has little cost beyond the price of the food it delivers to the needy, Meals on Wheels has had to struggle to raise the funds needed to meet its costs. In April 2016, Meals on Wheels Vice Chair Kathy Stepp reported that the group’s yearly costs were $74,000 or $11,000 more than the $63,000 in donations it had received and other funds raised.
This week, however, Meals on Wheels got some much needed help from Union Elks Lodge #1321 which purchased 500 meals to be delivered by Meals on Wheels volunteers.
The meals purchased by the Lodge cost a total of $2,000 which was provided to the Lodge by the Elks National Foundation through a Beacon Grant. Each Elk in each Lodge is asked to donate an amount set by the National President to his/her local lodge. The local lodge’s Elks National Foundation chairman then sends this amount to the national organization which, through the Foundation, provides grants to the local lodge’s community for a variety of local projects.
Elks with Lodge #1321 donate an average of $4.65 in order to receive the $2,000 grants for the projects they request funding for. One of those is purchasing meals for Meals on Wheels, which the Lodge began doing in 2016 and plans to contiue doing in the future.
The meals purchased for Meals on Wheels by the Lodge is the second time this month the Lodge has used a grant it received from the Elks National Foundation to aid a local institution. Earlier this month, the Lodge used a $2,000 Gratitude Grant to enable the Union County Carengie Library to pay for 95 large print books it recently purchased. The Lodge has been providing support for the library through the Gratitude Grant program for the past decade.
For more information about Meals on Wheels, the services it provides, and/or to make a contribution in support of its efforts call 864-427-1598 or go online at www.mealsonwheelsunionsc.com.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.