Spotlight on the Spotlight Grant: Delivering a Literacy-Based Community Baby Shower

In September, Toccoa, Ga., Lodge No. 1820 used their Spotlight Grant to host its first-ever Community Baby Shower. By partnering with First Steps, a local organization that focuses on family growth and development, the Toccoa Lodge was able to cast a (bassi)net to identify 25 low-income pregnant mothers to attend the special event.

With funds from the Spotlight Grant, the Lodge helped each mother “stork” up by supplying them with a baby bathtub, three bottles and bottle cleaner, 90 diapers, baby wipes, a safety kit—including doorknob protectors, cabinet and drawer stops, and electrical outlet protectors—and 14 infant board books! The Community Baby Shower also included a Literacy and Safety Fair to make Pedia-sure that the moms would foster a love of reading in their young children.

The Lodge partnered with local organizations to set up stations in order to provide information and run workshops for all in attendance. Together with the library, police and fire departments, local colleges and First Steps, the Elks ran stations on fire, car and home safety, healthy eating, drug awareness, education and training, and early education initiatives. These stations and workshops ranged from explaining the dangers of second-hand smoke, to providing infant CPR and Heimlich Maneuver training, to demonstrating the various literacy programs through the library. For each station a mom visited, the Elks gave a free raffle ticket to win even more supplies, like additional board books, educational toys, diapers, and car seats.

The Toccoa Elks were showered with satisfaction after hosting this event, as they felt their first dive into the Spotlight Grant was an incredible success.

Grants Coordinator Charles Sippel knows the program reaches beyond the shower. “The primary need met by this effort was highlighting the importance of early learning and later academic success in middle school and beyond,” says Sippel. “The fact that each of these mothers has over 20 new books, can only increase a child's, and future children's, probability of academic success.”

To put on your own Community Baby Shower and help progress early family literacy in your community, please apply for the new Spotlight Grant! Consider combining it with a Beacon and/or Gratitude Grant to supersize your impact. Deliver your application online today!

The Elks National Foundation allocated $13.7 million this year to fund the Community Investments Program. Lodges meet local needs through grants that offer Elks opportunities to serve their community in ways that will raise the Lodge’s profile, energize the membership, encourage former members to return to the fold, and gain the notice of people who want to be part of an organization that’s doing great things. To learn more about the Community Investments Program, please visit elks.org/CIP.


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