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Elks Grant Committee Chair Sal Cuomo and Exalted Ruler Mark Andersen (front left) with Stevens Point firefighters. (Metro Wire photo)

Elks dig deep for local charities

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By Brandi Makuski

The charitable arm of Stevens Point Elks Lodge 641 donated over $1,700 to local charities last week.

Through the Elks Foundation, the lodge donated $1,080 to the local chapter of Royal Family Kids, a nonprofit group that works with kids n the foster care system. The funds, according to assistant director Cole Peckham, will pay for two foster children to attend a weeklong summer camp designed for kids ages 6-12 who come from a tough family background.

“All the kids in the program have a mentor, and we try to foster that relationship with a special activity each month,” Peckham said.

Director Peg Geegan said the camper-to-adult ratio at the camp is less than 1:1, taking 20 boys and 20 girls each session.

The group also meets monthly at Putt-N-Play to participate in a social event, she said.

For more information on the camp, or to donate, go to rfk.org.

(Metro Wire photo)

A second check, this one for $700, was delivered to the Stevens Point Fire Department for one of the firefighter’s charities, Operation Warm. The organization will match the department’s grant dollar-to-dollar for its annual coat drive that benefits local school children.

Now in its fourth year of working with the nonprofit, the firefighters seek to raise enough funds to purchase 250 winter coats costing $34 a piece.

Firefighter Matt Zander said each fall, the department reaches out to local elementary schools to determine how many students might be in need of a new winter coat. With help from teachers and guidance counselors, Zander said, firefighters discretely meet with each student to match their coat size.

When the coats are delivered, firefighters return to the schools to ensure each coat fits.

“The first year we did this, we bought 80-some coats,” Zander said. “The need goes up every year, and last year we did about 170 coats, so this year we need to raise enough money for at least 250 coats.”

To donate, go to the Stevens Point firefighters’ website, their Facebook page or stop by Station No. 1 at 1701 Franklin St.

The Elks regularly donate funds to community-based nonprofit organizations throughout each year, according to Mark Anderson, Exalted Ruler of the downtown lodge, including the annual Cops-n-Bobbers kid’s fishing day, the Family Crisis Center, and the Salvation Army Hope Center, as well as other groups throughout the year.

For more information on the Elks, go to www.elks641.com.