Elks continue Christmas tradition
Rockland — It was just before 8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, but Rockland Elks Lodge 1008 was already buzzing with activity as Elks, family members and volunteers gathered to assist with the holiday tradition of providing needy families with the makings for a traditional Christmas dinner.
Through an ongoing partnership with The Salvation Army — they share a list of families in need with the Elks — the Elks assemble and deliver boxes filled with fresh and packaged food staples including apples, potatoes, celery, squash, onions, stuffing and pie. Turkeys are also provided with every box and are kept frozen until delivery to ensure freshness.
The Elks purchase the grocery items from a variety of local stores, said Rockland Elks Lodge 1008 Secretary and Maine Elks Association President Elect Dwayne Guy.
This year the Elks planned to deliver food to about 90 families, Guy said.
Guy, and other Elks Lodge 1008 officers Bill Bachofner, Chipper Widdecombe and Tom Wenckus said the annual charitable effort has become a tradition that attracts families and even some grown children of Elks members who grew up participating in the volunteer effort.
"This is our biggest event where we get volunteers to come out of the wood work," said Wenckus, who is president of Elks Lodge 1008.
The men said they planned to spend several hours packing each box with the requisite items before delivering them to recipient families later in the day. By 8:30 a.m. a steady stream of people had entered the lodge and a group of about 30 men, women and children were conversing over coffee and donuts prior to getting started packing the boxes. Massive bags of produce and cases of canned and dry goods occupied a portion of the lodge, and tables were set up to accommodate the assembly process.
"We never suffer from a lack of help today," Guy said. "Everybody does a part."
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org