The Dover Elks club has recently donated thousands of dollars in an effort to address food insecurities and homelessness on the Seacoast.

Through abundant volunteer efforts, the Dover Elks Lodge #184 received both the Beacon Grant and Spotlight Grant from the Elks National Foundation, which combined, equaled $5,500.

The donations helped supply the local organizations with everything from food to mattresses and more.

Susan Danforth, who works with multiple Seacoast operations to address homelessness, connected the Elks club with The Warming Shelter in Somersworth, where its generous donation provided 90 To-Go bags filled with items such as handwarmers, Chapstick, cereal bars, and fruit cups.

Executive Director Tracy Hardekopf of the Strafford Community Homeless Shelter in Rochester proposed the specific need for a COVID Apartment, which is a transitional shelter for clients who have been exposed to the virus.

To that end, Lodge #184 donated five new bed frames, mattresses, bedding amenities, and window coverings, and Elk volunteers even delivered and installed the components as part of the donation.

Somersworth Community Pantry received a charitable gift that supplied 570 pounds of necessary items, including food, baking goods, and a range of baby products.

Another recipient of goodwill from the Elks was End 68 Hours of Hunger.

Director Joyce Wilkinsen noted that many children face food shortages and hunger during the 68 hours they are away from school during the weekend, so this donation would help in that area. The Elks donation was even matched by a private individual who tripled their contribution.

And Dover Friendly Kitchen also received a $1000 gift from the lodge. Coordinator Marguerite Ferrer works with volunteers to provide free dinners on Tuesday and Thursday nights, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., at St. Thomas Episcopal Hall in Dover.

Linda Goodreau, who is a trustee on the Dover Elks Board of Directors and current grant coordinator, made the decision to contribute to causes that addressed homelessness and food insecurities throughout the seacoast area.

“Being a member of Dover Elks #184 for the past 8 years has given me many opportunities to volunteer for great causes in our community, but being the grant coordinator, representing Elks National Foundation, and Dover Elks Lodge #184 has been the most rewarding. This role has introduced me to a whole group of wonderful people serving those in need in our community,” she said.

Anyone interested in learning how to join the Dover Elks and become part of their volunteer organization can find more information here.

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