The Aldergrove Elks are finding ways to help the community during a year that has halted usual events and fundraisers while creating a greater need for support.
Ray Farness, a five-year member with the Elks, said generous donations to the club itself helped spearhead some of the actions that its members were able to carry out this season.
“We received help from the Quiring family – they donated $1,000, which was then matched by their company, Quiring Towing,” Farness explained.
Cst. Phil Colter, of the Aldergrove Community Police Office, is carrying on the tradition of predecessor Cpl. Kurt Neuman, by dispersing Save-On-Foods gift cards to needy families throughout the community.
The Quiring’s donation allowed for $1,000 in gift cards to be handed out by Colter this Christmas.
The Elks subsequently presented $1,400 to the Aldergrove Food Bank on Tuesday, Dec. 15, which included $250 donation from Aldergrove Save-On-Foods manager Cam Bates.
Additionally, $25 Wal-Mart gift cards allotted for 66 children that use the food bank or are part of low income families through the Langley School District that could use a helping hand.
Lastly, the Kinsmen Women’s Place and Seniors and Veteran’s Society were also recipients of Elks Club efforts; the latter using their $300 donation to provide meals for seniors, which are prepared to be heated at home.
The century old fraternal organization is a volunteer-based group throughout Canada that facilitate different charitable events and fundraisers in communities; Aldergrove Elk’s largest contributions often came during the Christmas season.
“Normally we’d participate in the light parade and we’d throw a big Christmas party for kids and have things like prizes, gift cards, hot dogs, and face painting,” Farness explained.
While the annual Aldergrove Light parade – initially set for Saturday, Dec. 12 – was cancelled by Dr. Bonnie Henry’s moratorium on in-person events, the allowance of drive-thru activities promoted a new take on the celebration.
Instead of the parade passing by viewers, the donors drove past the floats and displays, with participants that included the BC Farm Museum, Christmas carols, Santa and Mrs Claus, and a living Nativity scene.
Co-hosted by the Aldergrove Fair and legion, branch #265, $42,400 was raised in food items, cash, toys, and gift cards for the Aldergrove Food Bank.
Organizer Karen Long told the Aldergrove Star that the amount of food donated has left the Aldergrove Food Bank’s shelves and storage room overflowing.
“There were four and a half van-loads of food gathered at the event, in addition to donations dropped of during the day at the Aldergrove Food bank location,” Long explained.
Farness said the Elks had a float in the drive-by parade and look forward to hosting more in-person events in the future.
2020 has been a frustratingly slow yet transformative time for the local Elks chapter; the clubhouse at 27118 Fraser Highway was significantly renovated.
Lodge #66 president Gary King said, most recently, the basement has been all fixed up, allowing for more storage space and club activity.
“We’re trying to get things rolling again,” Farness said, noting that owning the building on Fraser Highway instead of renting a hall will hopefully put them in a better financial position.
The club has roughly 20 members and looking for more people to join.
People can visit www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community-Service/Aldergrove-Elks-Assoc to find more information and get in contact with the club.
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