Elks at Cookeville-Sparta, Tenn., Lodge No. 2863 used a Gratitude Grant to help renovate the shelter, focusing their efforts on creating a colorful and fun place for the children to play.
With $2,000 in Gratitude Grant funds, the Lodge set out on a playful shopping spree. They arrived at the shelter with plenty of supplies to transform the plain and mostly empty room into something bright, new and exciting. They brought an oversized storage bin and packed it full of toys and games. They also decorated the room, filling the space with colorful, child-sized furniture, a stocked bookcase, a kitchen playset and soft floor mats.
The transformation was definitely not lost on the staff or the residents.
“Thank you, Elks!” writes a Gracemoor board member. “What a difference it makes, especially when we saw the scared faces of small children light up when they saw the new play area.”
The playful project has sparked an ongoing relationship for the Elks.
“Gracemoor is honored to be the recipient of one of the Lodge’s charitable projects and looks forward to a long relationship with the Elks over the years to come,” says board member John Downs.
The Lodge has started to help out the shelter in other ways, too. Elks collect supplies for the residents and hold fundraisers to help purchase other necessary items. The Elks also spread the word about drug awareness at the shelter.
The partnership has garnered some positive publicity for the relatively new Lodge as well. The Lodge has even gained eight members because of the project, including two Gracemoor board members.
This project is a great example of what comes when mixing good work with play: success all around.
The Elks National Foundation helps Lodges serve their communities by offering $2,000 Gratitude Grants. Lodges are eligible to apply for Gratitude Grants after meeting the National President’s per-member goal for giving to the Foundation. To find out more about Gratitude Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.