Elks Lodge of Bend is finalizing preparations to brighten the holidays for those in need with food and toys.
The Elks has held its holiday drive for more than 70 years.
“They’ll each get a ham. They’ll each get a gallon of milk, five pounds of potatoes, three pounds of apples, a loaf of bread,” Lodge Secretary Barbara Smith said. “We try to provide food for about a week if we possibly can.”
Smith is part of the team that brings a fulfilling Christmas to local families.
“It’s what our roots are. It’s what we stand for, and Christmastime is so hard for so many families,” she said.
Central Oregon Daily caught up with Mike Bach after he stocked one of Wednesday’s loads full of potatoes. It’s his 38th year volunteering with the Elks. He says it’s the look on people’s faces that keeps him coming back season after season.
“When you take these packages and the people that really are in need of the stuff that makes their holiday better, makes you feel a whole lot, feels good,” he said. “It’s the holiday season.”
It’s a team effort with dozens of volunteers. Each is assigned with a route to deliver boxes to families on Christmas Eve.
Families were nominated through schools, outreach organizations or word of mouth.
“All the coordination that goes into it is really kind of amazing,” Bach said. ” It’s about us supporting the community and the community supporting us.”
“Not everybody has tons of money and opportunities where this is a help up,” Smith said. “We’re so glad that we are able to do that.”