East Liverpool Elks Lodge #258, OH

For the past 100 years the East Liverpool Elks Lodge #258 has opened its doors on Christmas morning to provide toys, warm clothing, bikes, and special gift bags to the disadvantaged children in their community. This year, the Pittsburgh Pirates donated over 200 bags used to fill with treats, like bottles of water with the Elks’ logo, chips, drink boxes, candy, fruit, drug awareness material, and one very special gift, a personal dictionary. The morning started off with a home-made breakfast cooked by members for the 80 volunteers. These individuals wrapped countless presents and placed them under the tree at the lodge. Over $10,000 was raised to purchase the toys and gifts. Gifts included 26 new bikes with helmets, toys for all ages and warm clothing. A group of ladies hand-knits over 200 hats each year for distribution to the children and 35 new pairs of shoes were passed out. After breakfast, the Christmas give-away begins – the excitement and joy is contagious. Members and their children line up to escort each child through the maze of toys. And of course Santa Claus joins the festivities – also a member of the lodge. Although many of the members’ children sacrifice their Christmas morning to participate in the event year after year, it is a toss-up who benefits the most. One thing is certain: the extent and thoughtfulness of the gifts, paired with the devotion and commitment of each volunteer continually leaves a lasting impression on the children and families of the East Liverpool community.