The Joy of the Holidays
Elks from Garland, Texas, Lodge No. 1984 do more than deck the halls at Christmas— they bring joy to the world. With the help of an ENF Promise Grant, the Lodge teams up with a local homeless children’s ministry to host a Christmas party for homeless and underprivileged children.

A Very Merry Christmas

The special occasion includes pizza, holiday crafts, gifts, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. As if Mr. and Mrs. Claus weren’t exciting enough, the Lodge invites local firefighters and veterans so the kids can meet heroes from their neighborhood. The Lodge also gives the children coats, which Elks purchase from consignment shops throughout the year to stretch their dollar further.

“It’s heart-warming and heart-wrenching,” explains Grant Project Manager Cathy Leslie. “These children have so little and are very thankful for what we give.”

New Friends and Old Friends

This is the second year the Lodge will host the party and it has become a great success. The Lodge has built relationships with the mayor, city council, local schools, and police and fire department. In a short time, the event has made a strong, positive impact and the community has taken notice.

“We have definitely gained new members,” says Leslie. “People from the community see and hear about our projects and volunteer to help. We’ve had great membership growth.”

This year’s Christmas party is right around the corner and the Lodge is expecting 130 children to arrive with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. Thankfully, the Elks and their friend St. Nicholas will be at the Garland Lodge with crafts, coats, and a sleigh full of toys.

The Elks National Foundation will help Lodges meet local needs by investing up to $8.5 million this year in Elks communities through Beacon, Gratitude, Promise and Impact Grants. These grants offer Lodges opportunities to serve the 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 www.elks.org/enf/community.


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