The Star-Herald

Presque Isle Elks cancel July 4th event but pay it forward for charity

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — For 14 consecutive years, the Presque Isle Elks, Lodge 1954, have hosted a July 4th community celebration at Riverside Park in Presque Isle.  

Large crowds have gathered at the park to listen to live musical entertainment, to look over wide selections of antique autos and muscle cars, to participate in contests for youth and to enjoy hotdogs, potato chips, shaved ice, popcorn and drinks, all served free of charge by the Presque Isle Elks.  Funding for this event was provided in large part by a grant the local Elks Lodge received from the Elks National Foundation. 

Unfortunately, much has changed since the last July 4th community celebration, including a worldwide pandemic, community lockdown and social distancing. As a result, it is not possible to hold a community celebration with large crowds.  

Another unfortunate change is the escalating food insecurity in this area, which is taxing the limited resources of the food pantries in this area, most of which are supplied by Catholic Charities.

For this year, therefore, the Presque Isle Elks used the proceeds of an Elks National Foundation grant to help the efforts of Catholic Charities by donating to it those funds generally expended for the Fourth of July event.

Presque Isle Elks Exalted Ruler Reuben Caron, together with Board of Directors Chairman Moe Collins, recently presented a check for $2,000 to Dixie Shaw, director of Hunger Relief Services for Catholic Charities. 

“All of the members of the Presque Isle Elks are sorely disappointed that we will be unable to host our annual July 4th celebration,” Caron said. “It is gratifying, however, to be able to locate an organization that is extremely capable in making the greatest use possible of those funds in order to address the growing needs of this area for food to answer the problems of food insecurity.

“Catholic Charities is an organization which will achieve the most positive results possible from these funds,” Caron added.

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