Pratt Elks Lodge 1451 provided food baskets for 35 families as a Christmas in July project.

Several families got a taste of Christmas in July because of the efforts of the Pratt Elks Lodge.

Pratt Elks Lodge 1451 provided 35 food baskets to families in need on Saturday, July 29 at the lodge.

During Christmas and Thanksgiving, many people think about families in need of food. The Pratt County Food Bank provides food boxes for many families during these holiday seasons. But the need for food is year round and the Pratt Elks Lodge has taken on this need with a Christmas in July food box program.

The lodge applied for and received a $2,000 Bacon Grant from the National Elks Foundation to purchase the food that went to 35 area families. There are very specific guidelines for the Bacon Grant. It has to be used in the same manner every year, said Linda Stelzer, Elks grant writer.

The Elks Foundation prefers the grant money not be split up but all go to one project. The grant must focus on helping those in need and address local issues. The local lodge should be in charge of the grant funds and project details.

This is an on-going grant program. The lodge has to apply each year to receive the grant and this is the third or fourth year Pratt Elks has received the award, Stelzer said.

The baskets were distributed on Saturday, July 29 at the Pratt Elks Lodge. Some families came to the lodge to pickup the boxes while Elks members delivered to other families.

Diana Harris, president of the food bank board of directors, supplies names of families that could use some help. Families are notified the day before the packages and Elks volunteers help distribute the boxes from 9 a.m. to noon. Part of the grant money requirements is they want Elk members doing the work.

Local businesses helped provide food including Dillons, Walmart and T&W Meats and Susan Kirby who provided hamburger at a 50 percent discount for two pound or four pound packages. The bigger packages went to families with more children.

Boys from the Achievement place volunteered to help pickup food and deliver it to the Elks Lodge.

On pickup day, there were lots of hugs and people were very thankful to receive the food, Stelzer said.

Families are limited on the number of food baskets they can receive from the Pratt County Food Bank during the year and sometimes they run short before they are eligible for the next basket. The Elks baskets helped some families fill the need at the end of July.

Pratt County Food Bank is open 7 p.m. to 8 p.m on Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and 10 a.m. to noon on Friday. They are located at 111 West Fourth Street and their phone number is 672-5150. Food donations and money donations are always welcome and can be made during regular hours or special donation times came be arranged by phone.