When we initially began brainstorming for this year’s Season of Giving, The Elk’s Lodge of Brighton was highlighted for their work putting together the Non-Perishable Food Donation bins through the pandemic. I was excited to connect with Kelly McGrath, their Functions Manager, Facebook Page Moderator, and well-connected Brighton resident, to get more information about how this idea came about. When we began our discussion, Kelly explained in detail “we were contacted by Anabela Gomes at the beginning of the pandemic. She wanted to post bins around the Allston & Brighton neighborhoods for food donations to help support our neighbors and community members who needed it because they were struggling.” In our discussion I learned that The Elk’s immediately agreed and set up bins, organizing so that the items would be picked up periodically, and delivered to the West End House or the Oak Square YMCA as a pick up point for the community. The effort was well supported by Elk’s members, and other local Brighton businesses, and neighbors.
In chatting with Kelly, it became apparent very quickly that while this was a major project and undertaking during the pandemic, this was just one small example of their philanthropic efforts over the last 6 months! She explained “The Elk Lodge is constantly giving back to the community, but we don’t advertise it”, and I couldn’t agree more. During our discussion I learned about the organization’s major support for veterans in our area, including their work with supporting 27 formerly homeless veterans in receiving housing at the Brighton Marine campus. They have ongoing programs like “Operation Thank a Vet”, item donation bins set up inside year round, provide holiday gifts to veterans currently in shelters, and providing holiday care packages among the veteran community.
While the veteran community deserves much attention and support, this isn’t where the Elk’s stops their efforts. Kelly recalled “after a big storm at St Columbkille’s, we were contacted about the flag pole being damaged. Together with Brighton Marine, we were able to provide the necessary funds to have it repaired”. They support the Veronica B Smith Senior Center with an annual Thanksgiving celebration, and this year they have figured out how to roll with the pandemic challenges by helping put on a “Senior’s Virtual Wreath Decorating” event, allowing each participating senior to have a wreath, decorations, and more, provided ahead of time. The Elk’s utilized their events space to allow other organizations to continue their efforts as well, like the Forsyth Institute setting up a dental check-in location for local students, and for Three Piece Suit Football to host a virtual concert, which Kelly noted was inspired by Brighton Main Street’s Summer Concert Series, in efforts to support Operation Delta Dog.
As we wrapped up our discussion about all of the good work that The Elk’s provides to the Brighton community, I wanted to know if The Elks felt well connected to Brighton Main Streets. Kelly shared that they have had a wonderful experience with the organization, and enjoy being not only a community member, but a community resource. When Brighton Main Streets reached out to The Elks about assisting with the Brighton Center Tree Lighting, they happily agreed and teamed up with Rockland Trust, and will be making it happen for years to come. The Elk’s and the members of the organization are constantly on Brighton Main Streets social media accounts, supporting and promoting all of the good that both organizations are doing, and these efforts do not go unnoticed.
It was inspiring to chat with Kelly about everything they were involved with in helping the community during the pandemic. It takes a strong sense of community to remain organized and motivated during a time when the benefits of being part of a group like The Elks, like socialization and having a unique space to gather, were being banned. While The Elks “don’t advertise” how they give back to the Community, I think that it’s important as a community to remember to shine a light on their efforts!
If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.
Looking for more inspiration? Read more Power of 10 stories.