The Columbus Elks Lodge 521 each year provides gifts to children of Bartholomew County residents in need of assistance. This year it provided gifts worth $11,875 to 95 children from 40 families Dec. 16.
The program is funded through the Elks’ annual Children’s Fund golf outing at Shadowood Golf Course in Seymour, the annual Piggy Party barbecue in the lodge garden, and a donation from the Elks National Foundation. This year the Elks National Foundation provided a $3,500 grant to be used solely for the lodge’s Children’s Fund activity. Throughout the year the lodge also receives cash gifts from the local membership.
More than 25 members volunteered to shop for the children. Each shopper receives a list of the requested gifts to closely match the Elks’ giving with the wishes of the children, or their parents or caregivers. The gifts are put in bags and left unwrapped so the parents can decide how to present them to the children and tell them who they are from — such as the parents or Santa Claus.
The process of accepting applications begins Nov. 1 and runs until Dec. 1, or until funds are exhausted. The gifts are picked up at the lodge in mid-December.