UNION — For the third time in less than a month Union Elks Lodge #1321 has demonstrated its commitment to supporting local community organizations and institutions, this time with a $2,000 donation to Union County Meals on Wheels.
On Thursday, Jim Cunningham, Secretary and Elks National Foundation Chairman for the Union Elks Lodge #1321, presented Jim Stepp, Treasurer for Union County Meals on Wheels, with a check for $2,000 during a ceremony at the Union Elks Lodge at 1305 South Pinckney Street, Union.
“We’re very thankful for this,” Stepp said. “This will be going for the meals we deliver.”
Meals on Wheels is an all-volunteer group that relies on private donations like those from the Elks 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.The volunteers deliver meals in Union and Buffalo serving more than 50 people a day. The meals they deliver are prepared by Midway BBQ. The group uses 99 percent of its budget to purchase the meals it delivers with the rest used for mailing and postage.
Stepp said Meals on Wheels is “always in need of drivers” and urged those interested in volunteering to deliver meals to the needy of Union to contact Meals on Wheels at 864-427-1598. He also urged those who are need of the group’s service or who are interested in referring someone they know needs it to also call.
The donation the Lodge made to Meals on Wheels is a Beacon Grant it applied and received from the Elks National Foundation for the express purpose of supporting the group’s efforts to deliver meals to the needy.
In its grant application, Lodge #1321 pointed out that “Meals on Wheels serves 55 or more hot meals each weekday. Last year over 15,000 meals were delivered to local shut-ins, military veterans, elderly, and needy recipients. Midway Restaurant prepares the meals; the purchase price is $4.25 per meal. Our Lodge will use the Beacon Grant $2,000 to donate to the Union Meals on Wheels organization to purchase about 471 meals. We will assist this program on an annual basis.”
The grant application further states that “our community is a very caring place to live. We have a lot of elderly people and retired military veterans living in our community. The apartment complex directly across from our Lodge has three meals delivered there each weekday. The people served by Union Meals on Wheels are in dire need of a hot meal each day. For many of these people this is the only hot meal that they receive each day. Our Lodge continues to shine our Beacon Light over our community and continues to show that Elks care and Elks share.”
Thursday’s donation was the third time in less than a month that Elks Lodge #1321 has made a donation to a local institution that serves the community or a group that provides assistance to those in need.
In late May, as they have every year since 2007, the Elks made a donation to the Union County Carnegie Library. The library has used the donations from the Elks to buy items and fund services to better serve the people of Union County. This year, the Elks donated $2,000 which was used to cover the cost of more than 80 large print books purchased by the library. In previous years, the library has used the donations made by the Elks to help fund its Summer Reading Program, purchase privacy screens for its computers, Win Way software for resume writing, an AED, and buy other large print books.
Earlier in May, the Elks donated $1,500 to the “Back-Pack Ministry” of Grace United Methodist Church which provides backpacks full of food to schoolchildren who have little or no food on the weekends. The ministry provides food to 30 children who have been identified by school personnel as needing food assistance. The children served by the ministry are in the free meal program at their school, living below poverty level in single parent, disabled parent, unemployed parent homes where they don’t get the attention and food necessary for them to perform as they should in school. The ministry provides each child with a package containing two proteins, two fruits, two breakfast foods, two snacks, and usually a juice provided by the Lodge they can take home with them each Friday.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.