Saturday's concert to benefit Elks holiday program

Friday, December 17, 2010

Elks Lodge No. 579 is hoping to get some help for its annual holiday assistance program through a fundraiser Saturday at the Liberty Theatre.

The fundraiser, which will feature local band Triple Threat and is set to take place from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, has been organized to help the lodge continue to raise money for its annual Community Christmas Basket program which provides Christmas dinners to needy area residents.

In the program, the Elks Lodge collaborates with The Beacon, a local community assistance agency and food pantry that operates a similar assistance program during the holidays, to provide Christmas dinners to needy eligible families in Bourbon County during the holiday season.

Names of several eligible people are provided by the Southeast Kansas Community Action Program (SEK-CAP) and several Elks members and other volunteers put together baskets that contain turkey and all the trimmings. The baskets are then delivered to families.

"It's the same program we've done for probably the last 25 years or so," Elks member Bill Brittain said. "Last year, we started working in conjunction with The Beacon to go through SEK-CAP. So many (names) go to The Beacon, so many go to us."

Proceeds from Saturday's concert will go toward purchasing food for the Christmas baskets, which will be delivered Sunday, Brittain said.

"Elks members show up, we build the baskets and (they) are then sent on routes," he said. "We'll take three to five at a time until we're all done."

The program has provided a little more than 100 food baskets each year the last few years, but Elks members said there is a greater need in the community this year.

"The last few years, it's been at the 115 to 125 level," Brittain said. "This year, we're anticipating more like 150. It's up 20 to 25 baskets from last year. And I think it's due to a poor economy, layoffs ... There are just more requests this year. There are hard times for people right now."

Triple Threat is a classic rock band consisting of local residents Mark Ward, Robert Tersinar and Larry Davenport.

The band members are volunteering their time to perform Saturday, Brittain said.

Admission is $5 per person. Elks members said any other donations to the Community Christmas Basket program would be appreciated.

Last year's event raised about $800 for the program, Brittain said.