Elks help military kids start the new school year on a positive note

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On Wednesday, Elks from Tacoma, Olympia, Lakewood and Seattle lodges worked with Joint Service Support on Camp Murray to distribute backpacks and school supplies to more than 600 children of our active duty and veterans.

For the second year, the Washington State Elks Association funded the purchase of 758 high quality backpacks for the school age children of active duty, guard, reserve and veterans. Members of the four Elks Lodges helped with the preparation on Tuesday. According to the coordinator of the project, “If the Elks had not helped with the prep, we would have worked an extra six hours just to get ready.”

Wednesday, the Elks manned several of the stations to distribute the backpacks, pens, pencils, paper, binders and other supplies. Ernie Bodoh, Jim Guthrie and Patty Kennedy, who are members of Tacoma Elks #174, manned the first station where the backpacks were handed out. The children got to pick both the size and color of the backpack they wanted. The smile on their faces made the effort worthwhile.

Other resources, such as family assistance, child and youth services, financial assistance, employment assistance, military one-source, American Red Cross and USO, were available for the families. Even free haircuts were provided.

The project coordinator praised the Elks for all they do for the Backpack Resource Fair. In the two years the Elks have assisted, the number of children served has almost doubled. Plans are already underway for next year and the Elks will be there to make it the best ever.

According to Tacoma Elks #174 member Ernie Bodoh, “This project is perfect for Elks. We are helping our military and children have a better life and a good start for the school year. This is what Elkdom is all about.”

If you have interest in supporting programs like this, please contact your local Elks Lodge or go to www.elks.org/who for more information.

For information about Tacoma Elks Lodge #174, contact our Lodge office by calling (253) 272-1117, email lee@tacomaelks.com or visit us at 2013 S. Cedar St.

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