ST. GEORGE – The Dixie Elks Lodge #1743 will be recognized for their charitable efforts in a short documentary film, to be broadcast this weekend.
The documentary, “Giving Back,” was created by the Elks National Foundation to show the public how the Elks enrich the community through scholarships, grants and volunteer work. From thousands across the nation, the Dixie lodge and their service at Millcreek High School were chosen to be featured.
“Giving Back” was filmed the second week of October at Millcreek, an alternative high school for troubled students in St. George. It will air on the Fox Business News Network this Saturday, Dec. 29, at 3 p.m. EST and on the Documentary Channel this Sunday and Dec. 23 at 1:30 p.m. EST.
“It is an honor,” said Betty Archambault, public relations director for the lodge. “Knowing that our work is appreciated and (that) it can help others (serve) their communities makes all the hard work that went to creating and keeping the project going worth it.”
The Elks have provided Millcreek with scholarships for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until late 2009 that they realized the school’s need extended far beyond money. During a meeting between lodge and school representatives to discuss scholarships for the coming year, a student knocked on counselor Heidi Tasso’s door asking for canned food from the teacher’s lounge; Millcreek faculty often brought extra food to work for students who did not receive enough at home.
Through a $10,000 grant from the Elks National Foundation, the lodge began work on installing a full-time pantry. Their involvement with the school has since expanded to facilitate bus passes, backpacks, school supplies, clothing, food, water, hygiene products, beds, baby items and more. They have created partnerships benefiting Millcreek students with the Salvation Army, the Utah Food Bank, the St. George Catholic Church, SunRiver St. George, various wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and local doctors and also implement the youth in community service through volunteer work at the St. George Marathon, the DOVE Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah and Elk charity events.
“(This) service is so beneficial because the students that attend (Millcreek) have many obstacles in their lives that make education very difficult. By helping with basic needs, more students are attending school and our graduation rate is improving,” Tasso said. “The Elks are giving (them) a fair shot at school, career and other opportunities.”
In addition to their work at Millcreek, the Elks are active in the community through numerous other avenues. A Survivors and Executors Workshop, which helps families of veterans through the process of dealing with a veteran’s loss, is scheduled for January 2013. In May, the lodge will host all HeadStart students and parents in the county to celebrate the end of the school year.
“There are few days in the calendar that we are not in the community, working on a cause or helping a group,” Archambault said.
To find out more about the Elks, contact Dixie Lodge #1743 at 435-673-1743.
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