FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2018
WATERTOWN, SD… In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the National Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks (BPOE) and in the spirit of charitable work in the community, the Watertown Elks Lodge #838 recently donated a $1500 grant to the Lake Area Tech Student Food Pantry.
The Elks National Foundation (ENF) is honoring 150 years of service through the BPOE by providing Anniversary Grants to local Elks Chapters that submit grant project requests. The Watertown Elks Lodge submitted the charitable request to provide funds for the recently developed Lake Area Tech Student Food Pantry located on campus. Leaders of the local group reached out when they heard there was a need for food for the pantry. Exalted Ruler Lon Greenfield said, “Our local chapter heard that Lake Area Tech had started a food pantry this past year and we reached out to see if we could assist in providing some of the funding to help fill their cupboard.”
Lake Area Tech started the Food Pantry in response to a growing need that campus counselors were seeing with students who were hungry and could not afford to purchase food. The pantry started small with a few items available for students in the counselor’s office. The need for more food grew significantly over the year as students started to timidly reach out. Lake Area Tech Counselor Megan Lynde comments, “We have students who get full financial aid, but still need to work 30-40 hours a week to pay rent and bills. Food is often not seen as important as a place to live, so a majority, if not all of their paychecks go to rent.” Lake Area Tech staff and students have done many annual food drives over the years for the community pantries but necessarily realized that there was a need on campus. With changes in financial aid availability, the cost to attend college, and the overall cost of living, it is financially difficult for many students. Lynde continues, “Many students do not receive financial help from home and end up having to make a choice between school and work. Especially if a student has children, work tends to win. The hope is that having a program like the food pantry will allow those students to be able to finish school and have that future they hoped for.”
The ENF Anniversary Grant monies will provide a significant amount of non-perishables for the pantry, $10 gift cards for the Lake Area Tech Food Service for a hot meal, and vouchers to County Fair Foods for meat, milk and bread. The ENF Grant is another way the local Watertown Elks Lodge #838 is celebrating their commitment to their community through service.
Elks Lodge #838 members purchase non-perishables for Lake Area Tech student Food Pantry.
L-R Elks member Dean Schultz, Lake Area Tech Counselor Megan Lynde, Exalted Ruler Lon Greenfield, County Fair Foods employee Jordan Epperd, and Elks Member John Stoneberger.