BY MELANIE BUCK –
Close to 400 children received their Christmas delight early this year as the Mena Elks Lodge #781 took on the role as distributor for the local Toys for Tots program. The Toys for Tots program has received donations from individuals and businesses over the last few weeks to fill the gift bags for the County’s less fortunate. In addition to the Toys for Tots gifts, the Elks purchased $8,000 worth of food from James’ Superfoods to fill 180 food baskets for local families. Local author Richard Pena was also on site to give away autographed copies of his new book as children met up with Santa to tell him of their Christmas wishes.
The annual Elks’ Christmas program has more than doubled in size over the last few years. In 2011, the Elks gave away gifts to 160 children. The Mena Elks also delivered 82 food baskets to the elderly during Thanksgiving.
Local Elks members said they ‘love doing this each year’ and that giving to the children ‘is the true reason for the season.’