Elks Christmas basket program enters 67th year
A longstanding Beaver Dam tradition to bring good cheer and a tasty meal to the plates of many is already in the process of collecting the needed items that will be boxed up on Christmas Eve morning and delivered to area houses.
Beaver Dam Elks Lodge 1540’s food basket program is in its 67th year of providing a dinner for those in need and providing community cheer for those who volunteer to put together the baskets each year.
“We are always in need of help and anyone wishing to help can just show up at the Beaver Dam Ford garage,” said program organizer Rob Radig, noting volunteers should arrive by 8:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve. “We will have plenty for them to do.”
Each year, Beaver Dam Ford, W8356 Howard Drive, is filled with those putting together the baskets. Volunteers line up to fill the baskets and drive to the homes where the food is dropped off.
“Even after all these years, it still amazes me at the number of people from the community that come out to give a few hours to make a difference for families they don’t even know,” Radig said. “For many, they have made this part of their family holiday tradition. ... Just a few hours Christmas Eve morning and they can spend the rest of the day with their family.”
Each box contains a chicken (or chickens), a bag of potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, a head of lettuce, bags of apples and oranges, one or two loaves of bread, a dozen eggs, a package of cookies, a milk coupon, two boxes of gelatin, canned goods, a box of corn muffin mix, gravy, a pound of butter, cheese and stuffing mix.
The boxes are packed up in an assembly line process with many people returning year after year to fill the boxes.
Last year, Radig said 500 baskets were delivered that fed 1,900 people. The Elks do not compile the list; it is compiled with information from Dodge County Human Services and Dodge County Toy Bank.
The items are purchased from local businesses or donated.
Those wanting to donate to the Elk’s Christmas baskets can send funds by mail to Beaver Dam Elks Christmas Baskets at PO Box 96, Beaver Dam, WI 53916, or they can drop off donations at Beaver Dam Ford on the morning of Dec. 24.