The Cornerstone of Compassion
Legacy scholars are eligible for the scholarship because of parents or grandparents who are Elks. Although they’ve paved the way for their kin to make their own impact in their communities, sometimes Legacy scholars must rise to the challenge of creating their own path.

Averey Ruble has worked with Indianola, Iowa, Lodge No. 2814 on the Adopt a Family Initiative to buy groceries, winter clothes, personal care items and school supplies for one family in need in the community. The Lodge does it every year for Christmas.

This year, Ruble’s parents were asked to lead the project, but because of a death in the family and work to do at their family business, they weren’t certain they’d be able to give their fullest to the initiative. That’s when Averey stepped in.

“Like the Lodge, I believe in sharing and giving to those I can,” Averey says. “I want to help my community any way that I can.”

She started off by meeting with participating members of the Lodge to discuss fundraising. They decided they’d place jars around the Lodge for people to donate. They launched the project at the Lodge’s annual “Cash Out” party where members can only use cash for the night so that they have the option to donate their change.

While Averey was requesting donations, she received an email from the Elks National Foundation encouraging Legacy scholars to apply for a $500 Cornerstone Grant, which is an exclusive opportunity available only to Legacy scholars to use to start or expand a service project with their Lodge.

Averey applied. She knew that the grant, combined with the Lodge’s donations, would make for an unforgettable Christmas for one family. Soon afterward, she got the surprise of a lifetime.

“I was genuinely shocked when I learned I was going to be awarded the grant,” Averey says.

When the Lodge heard the good news, they decided they had enough resources to sponsor not just one, but two families this year.

“It was an easy decision to pursue the opportunity to help another struggling family in the community,” Averey says.

The Lodge “adopted” two families from the Wee-Care Program at the Indianola church that provides free daycare services for struggling families in the community. The first family was a single mother raising four young children, one child still in diapers. The second family was a single father raising three children including one child with autism.

Now that they knew who they were shopping for, it was time to find the families the perfect winter clothes and warm shoes, which many of the children needed, and lots of healthy food. Shopping for the two families opened Averey’s eyes to how expensive it is to raise a family not only every day, but especially around the holidays.

“Christmas must be a very hard time for these parents since school is not in session, which means the children are home for more meals, and then there’s the added cost for heating bills, winter clothing and the presents children expect,” Averey says. “I am very grateful we could ease the burden for these families.”

When the Lodge delivered the gifts, Averey saw firsthand how much her dedication to this initiative meant to these families. The children passed the gifts around and made a game of guessing what was inside the wrapping paper. They were thankful for the gifts, personal care products, and food—the makings for a happy holiday.

“It’s incredibly beneficial knowing I’m helping someone in my community, someone I might know,” Averey says. “I am thankful for what I have, and the people I can share this with.”

For 2017-18, the Elks National Foundation allocated $1.2 million to fund 300 scholarships for the children and grandchildren of Elks. If you know any Elks children who are high school seniors, encourage them to visit for information, including eligibility and deadlines.

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