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Making a difference this holiday

November 23, 2011

Members of the Bishop Salvation Army and Elks Lodge pose with two of the 100-plus boxes of food they teamed up to purchase, pack and distribute by Thanksgiving for families in Bishop and Mammoth. Shown here on Monday are (back row, l-r) Elks member Greg Newcomb and Exalted Ruler Wayne Ball, (front row, l-r) and Salvation Army volunteers Mary Carver, Vicki Gabriel and Jerry Gabriel. Photo by Mike Bodine

Today, many Eastern Sierra residents will be enjoying a bountiful dinner of traditional fare that they might otherwise have gone without, were it not for the generous donations of the community, the Salvation Army and the Bishop Elks.
Joining forces again for another year, the two civic-minded groups purchased, packed and handed out more than 100 Thanksgiving food baskets in Bishop and Mammoth. The pair work in harmony with the Salvation Army handling application logistics and bulk purchasing and the Elks providing much-needed monetary assistance and donating the use of its lodge for basket filling and distribution headquarters.
Each basket is filled with a turkey, vegetables, rolls, cranberry sauce, stuffing, butter, potatoes and gravy and a pie. The baskets come in three different sizes for different-sized families. Distribution started at 10 a.m. Monday morning and was nearly complete by noon. Elks Exalted Ruler Wayne Ball said the group used to deliver the baskets, but it is easier for the Elks and applicants to pick the baskets up on their own schedules.
Ball said the cooperation and coordination of the two groups “works nice” with sharing facilities, finances and labor.
“It’s important that organizations work together,” Ball said. “It’s better for the whole community.”
The two will go their separate donating ways for Christmas. The Elks focus on giving gifts and spreading cheer at the Bishop Care Center, Sterling Heights and the Lone Pine Assisted Living Facility. The Salvation Army will embark on its Kettle Campaign (listen for the ringing bell), Coats for Kids and preparing Christmas food baskets.
The Salvation Army is always looking for volunteers, especially for the Kettle Campaign, as well as donations for its depleted food pantry. For more information, call (760) 872-2124.
The Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, Bishop Lodge 1609 is in the midst of a membership drive and invites all interested parties to attend an event or call (760) 873-3221.

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