Hickory – Hickory Elks Lodge #1654 annual food and funds drive for the Backpack Program- Food for Students is in progress! This is the program formerly known as Catawba County Backpack Program. Although budget issues did not allow Catawba County Department of Social Services to continue funding the position for Backpack Program, they were able to assist Backpack Program Coordinator, Amanda Freeland, in the search for a new community partner. Of the three non-profit organizations that applied for stewardship of the Backpack Program, it was determined that the Corner Table in Newton would be Backpack’s new home as of January 01, 2019. Operating under The Corner Table’s 501c3, but with an entirely separate budget to the preexisting services of The Corner Table, Backpack Program has remained the same in every other way. Isn’t that wonderful news for the students in Catawba County? You bet it is!

This very important community program serves participating children from elementary school to high school by providing a backpack full of healthy food for the weekend throughout the school year. Last school year, Backpack was in 32 schools. This year Backpack Program serves students in 36 schools. Still with only one part-time employee, Backpack has continued to grow to meet the community need. The Backpack Program relies entirely on donations to fund all costs of the program. Their sole mission is to remove hunger as a barrier to education and reduce the impact of poverty on children and families. This can only be accomplished when individuals, businesses, churches, and civic organizations join the effort.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks serve the people and communities through benevolent programs, demonstrating that “Elks Care and Elks Share”. “The Backpack Program touched our hearts several years ago and our commitment speaks to what we do as Elks. Sometimes we forget how much need there is in our own community,” said Carole Anderson, founder of the event and former Committee Chair for the Elks Lodge Backpack Program. Last year the Elks exceeded their goal again by donating more than $35,000 in food and funds to the program.

Food donations will be accepted through October at the Elks Lodge along with monetary donations and silent auction items. You can drop off donations Mon – Thur & Sat any time after 3PM and Fri & Sun after 1PM. A $130 donationa will sponsor a child for an entire school year.

The culmination of the Elks collection efforts ends with a dinner and dance evening.

This year’s event will feature a “BBQ Chicken Dinner Night” with Entertainment by Mama’s Remedy Band. The event will be held November 2nd at 6PM at the Hickory Elks Lodge at 356 Main Ave NW.

Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased from any Elk member or directly from the Elks Lodge. Take out dinners will be available. The community is welcome to join the event and get in on the Silent Auction and Door Prizes.

To find out more information about the event and to donate to Backpack Program Fundraiser 2019 with the Elks please contact Valerie Arbogast at [email protected] or call the Elks Lodge at 828-322-2527. You can also donate on the Lodge website at http://hickoryelks1654.org