Photo provided
Children visit with Santa during a previous Children’s Christmas Party at the Noblesville Elks Lodge. This year’s party is Dec. 15. The Elks Lodge is having a food drive through Saturday.
Photo provided Children visit with Santa during a previous Children’s Christmas Party at the Noblesville Elks Lodge. This year’s party is Dec. 15. The Elks Lodge is having a food drive through Saturday.
At this time of the year, many organizations are busy collecting items for families who have a need during the holiday season.
The Noblesville Elks Lodge is one of those groups.
Elks member Terri Sigman-Kennedy said she was personally “overwhelmed” when she learned that the Lodge was planning to help 50 families for Christmas this year.
The Elks have adopted several families in Noblesville over the past nine years. But this is the Lodge’s largest undertaking, she said.
The Elks will prepare food baskets for 25 families, whose names were provided by Elk member and Noblesville school teacher Brad Howard. Elks will also provide food and gifts to 14 elderly adults, whose names were provided by Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County. All of the recipients had requested help. Elk Lori Dent is leading the effort again this year.
Sigman-Kennedy said the community can help by donating nonperishable items, particularly boxed macaroni and cheese, boxed desserts, instant mashed potatoes, canned vegetables, gravy and stuffing.
The Lodge is also taking cash donations to help provide for each family an array of holiday meal perishables that include turkey, ham, eggs, milk, bread and butter.
“It’s comforting to me knowing that the Elks is just one of many in Noblesville stepping up to assist those less fortunate in our community,” Sigman-Kennedy said of the donation drive continues through Saturday, and the items will be delivered on Dec. 17.
At the annual Elks Children’s Christmas party, coming up on Dec. 15, Santa makes a visit, and each child receives a gift from the Elks. The kids are asked to give back, by bringing a gift to place under the Elks’ Christmas tree. Children also enjoy a craft and cookie decorating and is entirely funded by the Elks.
In past years, a representative from Noblesville Fire Department has walked from the fire station across the street to the Elks Lodge to greet the children at the Christmas Party and collect the gifts for NFD’s toy drive, which is happening the same day.
Sigman-Kennedy said her husband, the late John Kennedy, an Elk who died in October 2017, had worked eight years with his employer, U.S. Foods, to collect food items that the Elks donated to Third Phase homeless shelter in Noblesville. Their final year, the Elks donated the semi-truck and trailer filled with food to White River Christian Church Food Pantry.
For more than 30 years, the Elks have played host to an annual golf outing, with the money going to cancer research. Elks Geoff Robinson, Randy King and the late Steve McKee, who died of cancer) and John Kennedy have been and were advocates for the outing, which in 2016 was renamed in honor of longtime member, Steve Renner who, on the morning of the outing, was presented the Sagamore of the Wabash award. This year, the Lodge raised more than $20,000, about half of which was awarded to cancer research. 
The Lodge’s theme this year was “One lodge, one team, one community,” as set by Nichole Sigler, Exalted Ruler, or president. Pete Smith will be the new Exalted Ruler for 2019-20.
What else? The Elks receives a grant from national headquarters to provide meals to members of the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville.
Noblesville Elks has received a 21st Century Grant for Scholarships, for which Sigler, Howard and Robinson are working with the seventh- and eighth-grade classes in the community.
Sigman-Kennedy said, “The students making a commitment to follow life guidelines will receive a benefit to help with college scholarships, if they meet their commitment.”
-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com. She is a member of the Elks Lodge.