By CHRIS MORRIS
NEW ALBANY —
This year, S. Ellen Jones Elementary students received free books and the school’s library was restocked. The New Albany High School NJROTC rifle team was given funds for travel and supply expenses and the Floyd County Veterans Court was recently given a $2,000 grant.
Those gifts, and many more, were all made possible through the New Albany Elks Lodge No. 270.
Since 1902 the organization, located at 426 Pearl St., has been reaching out to the community through donations and service. The group meets twice a month, but the Elks aren’t about sitting around a clubhouse and playing pool. They are about helping young and old alike.
“We have a good group of people who work very hard,” said Stephen Scott, secretary and past exalted ruler of the New Albany lodge. “I think the members do a good job.”
The New Albany lodge has 234 members.
Not only did S. Ellen students receive extra books, but each week several Elks members read and discussed the books with fourth-graders at the school. The group spent $1,080 on about 200 books, of which $1,000 came from the Elks National Foundation’s Beacon grant.
“I am big into reading and education and I talked to Terri [Boutin, S. Ellen principal] and asked her what could we do to help,” Scott said. “She provided us with a list of books they needed and we purchased them through Destinations Booksellers and took them to the school.”
Scott said he chose a school close to the lodge when it came to providing the free books. He said he had also worked with Boutin when the lodge provided basketball goals to the Children’s Academy when she was principal there.
Scott said the lodge will apply for the national grant again next month. He said the grant is worth $2,000 this year.
The lodge has also supported the NAHS Bulldolls dance team as well as Brandon’s House, the New Albany Little League and the DARE program. Members also are involved in the Clothe-A-Child program, which provides needy children with winter clothing and Hope Southern Indiana’s Snack Attack program.
“We are a social organization that exists for the benefit of its members — both within the lodge and out in the community,” Scott said. “Our two primary concerns are children and veterans.”
Funds raised through grants, donations and bingo also help provide items to local veterans in need. The Elks make annual donations to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Louisville.
Following the tornadoes last year in Henryville, the New Albany lodge contributed $10,000 to the rebuilding efforts and several members grilled food for the many volunteers in the area after the storm.
A couple of months ago, some of the members served breakfast snacks, fruit and drinks to the men and women of the National Guard on a drill weekend. Items were purchased through a grant from the Elks Veterans Service Commission.
“We have been able to express our gratitude to both companies located at the New Albany armory,” Scott said. “The Elks as an organization have pledged that so long as there are veterans, we will never forget them. We at the New Albany lodge strive to meet that obligation at all times.”
For more information on New Albany Elks Lodge No. 270, call 812-945-8111.