More than 35 members of Jamestown Elks Lodge 263 prepared and served more than 250 free turkey dinners to individuals and their families associated with Aspire Inc. recently at St. John Roman Catholic Church in Jamestown.
The lodge prepared more than 30 turkeys and donated $1,100 to Aspire Inc. to buy gifts for all. Other donations included: McDonalds Corp., orange drink and sundae certificates; Lakewood Rod and Gun Club, $500; Maplevale Farms, turkeys and Upstate Milk Co-Op., 350 cartons of milk.
"Our lodge is very proud that for over 50 years we and our friends have hosted this wonderful holiday celebration." said Walter Gaczewski, Leading Knight of Lodge 263.
Aspire dinner participants are pictured above. Front, from left, are Matthew Carlson and Kevin Wolff. Rear, from left, are Stacy Pangborn, mother of boys, Gail Saunders, director of home services for Aspire Inc., Walter Gaczewski, Elks Leading Knight, and Harold Olson, lodge member.
"The annual Elks club Christmas party is the highlight of the year for so many individuals in our community," said Gail Saunders, director of home services for Aspire Inc. "We are so appreciative of the generosity of the elks and of the joy they spread during the holiday."
Lodge member Patty Rizzo baked and donated more than 400 homemade cookies. Music was donated by band members Randy Graham and Jamie Henderson.
The annual dinners were begun 56 years ago in 1956 in collaboration with the Easter Seal organization and were the original idea of Kathryn Crossley, widow of Howard Crossley, late (1959) Elk Exalted Ruler and local attorney.
The association with Aspire Inc. began about 30 years ago.