UNION — The Union Elks Lodge #1321 continued and expanded its tradition of service to the community Thursday afternoon by donating $2,000 to Union County Meals on Wheels.
In a ceremony Thursday afternoon in front of the Elks Lodge, the Elks presented Meals on Wheels members Jim and Kathy Stepp with a check for $2,000. Lodge Secretary Jimmy Kimbrell said that the Lodge obtained the funds through a Beacon Grant from the Elks National Foundation. He said that Beacon grants enable local lodges to support programs in their communities that serve as a “Beacon of light” in their community.
The Foundation, which provides grants to local communities for a variety of local projects, is an arm of the national Elks organization. Each Elk is asked to donate an amount set by the National President to his/her local Lodge. The ENF chairman then sends this amount to the national organization. The Union Elks Lodge met this year’s goal of $4.65 per local member. It was from these funds that the $2,000 the Lodge donated to Meals on Wheels came from.
Kimbrell said Thursday’s donation was the first time the Lodge has provided financial support to Meals on Wheels. He said the Lodge did so because it knew the group is struggling financially due to the loss of some of its larger contributors.
Meals on Wheels is an all-volunteer group whose members deliver meals along 10 routes in the Union and Buffalo communities serving approximately 75 people a day. The meals they deliver are prepared by the Union Medical Center at a cost of $3.95 per meal and Kimbrell said that based on that cost the $2,000 donated by the Lodge would pay for approximately 500 meals.
Kimbrell added that the Elks are looking at possibly obtaining other grants to assist Meals on Wheels.
In accepting the donation, Mrs. Stepp thanked the Elks for their generosity, saying that the money would cover the cost of a week and a half’s worth of meals delivered by the group.
“We are appreciative of all of our churches and other groups and organizations like the Elks who support this worthwhile cause,” she said. “We also want to thank all those who individually give in memory or honor of a loved one.”
In 2015, Meals on Wheels delivered 17,859 meals at a cost of $6,200 per month. Those costs include price of the meals the group purchases for delivery which amounts to 99 percent of its operating budget and postage costs which account for the other one percent.
Meals on Wheels has struggled in recent months to maintain its needed level of funding and Mrs. Stepp, who serves as the group’s Vice Presidnet, reported in April that the group’s yearly costs were $74,00 or $11,000 more than the $63,000 in donations it had received and other funds raised.
For more information about Union County Meals on Wheels and/or to make a contribution in support of its efforts, call 864-427-1598.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.