Sun City has long been known as the “City of Volunteers.”
That high level of volunteering and giving back to the surrounding communities is always found among the members of Sun City Elks Lodge No. 2559’s Community Activities. The Lodge “Back-to-School” programs for secondary and elementary school students illustrated “the past shows us, the future draws us.”
Members knew in donating school supplies they were helping students obtain the tools they need to learn throughout the school year. They also recognized they would be helping to relieve some of the stress and financial burdens that have fallen on teachers to fill the gap for students without the means to purchase necessary supplies. Even the most inventive teachers aren’t effective if their students don’t have supplies to work.
For the high schools, the Elks Lodge joined with Peoria’s HART Pantry, hartpantry.org, and its many local community organizations filling 300-plus backpacks with school supplies. Twenty-three westside high schools return to school in the Fall. The Helping at Risk Teens organization regularly provides weekend food, clothing and toiletry programs for teens in-need. The backpack program paves a path to a successful future.
For the Back-to-School elementary program, Sun City Elk members’ donations and purchases with an Elks National Foundation grant delivered boxes of new school supplies and clothing to two Title 1 schools. District officials’ studies have shown when students have their own school supplies, their grades and classroom behavior improve. They become more excited about school and learning. The lack of school supplies plays a vital role in a child’s development socially, physically and mentally.
“Elks Care — Elks Share” is the motto of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. With a willingness to volunteer and a generosity for school supplies, Elk members work to create stability and confidence for functioning classrooms for overall better learning.
Eleanor Jenkins works with Sun City Elks community activities.