Elks Lodge Serves Christmas Dinner To 150

For Robert Harris the Elks Lodge in Burlington was home for the holidays. “There was nowhere else to go for Christmas,” said Harris.
BURLINGTON, Vt.- For the fifth year in a row the Elks Club in Burlington celebrated Christmas by serving a meal to those in need.

For Robert Harris the Elks Lodge in Burlington was home for the holidays.
“There was nowhere else to go for Christmas,” said Harris.
Harris says he's been homeless for a few years, but this is the first year he's come for a free meal and a few extra winter necessities.
“It helps,” said Harris.
Volunteers at the Elks Lodge got an early start Christmas morning, setting up the hall, decorating, and preparing food for more than 150 guests.
“It’s a challenge, it’s a challenge especially for an amateur,” Rick Boucher jokes, he’s a Past Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge. “But I enjoy it, I look forward to it every year,” he adds.
Every year for the last five years the Elks Lodge hosted a Christmas dinner for those in need.
“When you see all the smiling faces of people getting fed and they are walking away full and that’s a great thing, and then we know we succeeded by doing that,” said Boucher.
Jake and his whole family are one of the many volunteers who make this possible.
The 14 year old says it’s a good time to give back.
“It’s the season of giving, you know help people who are less fortunate,” said Bucci.
This year the club received a two thousand dollar grant from the Elks National Foundation to help buy winter coats, hats, and gloves to give away.
“You don't want to see the community without and food and you don't want to see them without any coats, because there’s some people who still live outside,” said Michelle Charron, who organized the community dinner.
For the first time the Elks Club teamed up with the non-profit group 'HANDS' or Helping and Nurturing Diverse Seniors.
“I think it’s really important for people to get together on a holiday like this. It’s a very significant one so it makes a lot more sense for everybody to be gathered in one place then at their home or apartment by themselves,” said Megan Humphrey, founder and director of HANDS.
Humphrey says the group delivered more than 250 meals to seniors across the county. And for many Mother Nature threw a wrench in their holiday plans.
“The ice storm really changed it up this year so a lot of folks that were going to travel or have family or friends come here, that just wasn’t going to happen this year,” said Humphrey.
As people enjoyed a hot Christmas meal gathered with friends, Santa and Mrs. Claus even stopped by to visit!

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