Hundreds of volunteers are helping spread Christmas joy in the Franklin County area.
Under the direction of the Preston Elks Club, more than 400 volunteers will spend the week of December 10th-15th helping assemble Christmas care baskets for needy families.
“We’ve been doing it for 61 years,” according to Jackie Andersen of the Elks Lodge. “It’s one of our biggest projects. It truly takes three to four hundred people to pull this off and it means the world to our Elks Lodge.”
Letters go out to the surrounding area in October asking individuals, schools, religious and community leaders to supply the Elks with names of families who may be struggling.
Dozens of businesses generously donate food and hygiene items.
Andersen fights back tears as she talks about the amount of support and contributions they receive from the public.
“It’s an emotional thing for me,” she said. “I get to see a lot of these kids who go hungry and they go hungry all year long.” She emphasized, “As long as there’s mouths to feed, we’ll feed them.”
Volunteers will help assemble 780 Christmas baskets this year beginning at 6 p.m. on December 10th. It will take four days to get everything organized and put together in time for deliveries on the 15th.
Andersen said, “For years, the Elks Lodge has been nothing but the bar on the hill next to the golf course.” She continued, “The last couple of years we’ve tried really hard to get out in the community and show them what we do.” This event, she added, “gets bigger and better every year.”