Volunteers requested for Christmas Basket program
By RODNEY D. BOAM
For the last 30-plus years, Preston Elks Lodge 1670, has opened its doors for volunteers to help assemble what may be Idaho’s largest Elks Christmas Basket program.
Lodge members and volunteers sort through mountains of locally grown Idaho Russets (over a ton) and about the same amount of locally produced cheese and over 800 dozen eggs produced by Ritewood Eggs of Franklin.
Monsanto of Soda Springs donates a pallet of frozen potatoes and Pepperidge Farms of Richmond donates a pallet of crackers every year to the cause. Donations also come from Schreiber Foods in Smithfield, Malt-O-Meal in Tremonton, Gossner’s in Logan and Presto Products in Lewiston.
While the national Elks Magazine touts lodges doing 200 or 300 community baskets, the Preston Lodge delivered a whopping 820 food boxes across Franklin County, north to Grace and south to Richmond.
Canned goods collected from food drives are added to the boxes, as well as turkeys, hams or even hamburger purchased from local retailers.
“Recipient’s will have over a week’s worth of food,” said Jenny Pitcher Hollingsworth of the Lady Elks. “This is a huge deal. I don’t think people realize the scope of this project.”
In the weeks before delivery, youth groups from area churches and civic clubs meet in the evenings at the Lodge, 1229 No. 800 East, near the golf course, to prepare for delivery day the Saturday before Christmas and load semi trailers and pickup trucks full of baskets.
This year Hollingsworth has been collecting money from local businesses to help offset delivery costs and the cost of the meat.
In 2010 the Local Elks recorded $145,000 in donated travel and labor for the Christmas Basket program and 266 non-Elks gave service while 23 Elks Lodge members recorded service hours.
This year the baskets will be assembled the week of Dec. 15 and delivered on Saturday, Dec. 22.
Hollingsworth said they could use up to 30 people a night mid-month, and the Saturday of delivery up to 50 people will be needed to help load the boxes into trucks .
Please call Jenny Pitcher Hollingsworth, 435-770-4713, or Krysta Christensen at 208-852-3237 for additional information.
This story is sponsored by Dave Fryar Thank You and U&I Furniture.
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