Backpacks for vets
In 2020, The Nevada City Elks Lodge #518 applied for and received three grants from the Elks National Foundation (ENF). They were: the Spotlight Grant for $2,000; the Gratitude Grant for $2,500; and the Beacon Grant for $3,500. As the criteria of the Spotlight and Gratitude grants had been modified to help local organizations affected by the pandemic, the funds from both of these grants were distributed to Nevada County Food Bank, Interfaith Food Ministry, and the local KARE Crisis Center. The Beacon Grant for $3,500 provided “Outreach Packs” for homeless veterans, just as The Elks have done in prior years. This included $2,500 for contents of the backpacks and $1,000 was donated to Hospitality House to help fund their new walk-in freezer. In the year 2020, a total of $8,000 has been donated to the community by the Nevada City Elks Lodge #518 and ENF.
On Dec. 29, 2020, 10 filled backpacks were delivered to the Nevada County Veterans Service Office. The backpacks were donated from the Yuba-Sutter Standdown. The Standdown also donated water bladders, lots of t-shirts, and socks. With ENF Beacon Grant funds we purchased 10 each: solar charging units; rechargeable flashlights/headlamps; various hygiene supplies; warm hoodies and gloves; and durable, rip-stop, ponchos with grommeted corners that could be used for emergency shelter; plus, gift cards purchased from the local Big-5 and Petco.
This was very much a collaboration of effort between the Nevada County Veterans Service Officer, David West and members of the Nevada City Elks Lodge #518: Exalted Ruler Joseph Macaluso, Danielle Steadman, Dorothy Rhodes, Kim West, Kitty Vaars and Elsie Durgin. Rosie Doolittle of Swenson’s Surplus in Grass Valley helped obtain many of these items. Due to COVID-19 requirements and concern for the health of others, rather than organizing a large packing party at the Nevada City Elks Lodge #518, backpacks were filled by Brynda Durgin Privitt and Elsie Durgin. Pictured, Traci Hart of Nevada County Veterans Service Office receives donated backpacks on Dec. 29.
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