By Pat KRAMER
For those who have seen a purple piggy bank on the counter of a local eatery or business in Sunland-Tujunga, you may have wondered what it was all about.
“The Purple Pig is the California-Hawaii Elks major project,” explained Earl Bouchard, past officer of the Sunland -Tujunga Elks Lodge 2098, located at 1037 Commerce Ave., Tujunga.
Last year, Lodge #2098 raised $7,500 with this ongoing fundraiser, which provides medical technicians, vision screeners, physical therapists and other services that help kids, especially those with special needs. Nationally, the Elks raised $3.5 million with the Purple Pig fundraiser.
Those who see a purple piggy bank on the counter of a local business they visit, such as The Rattler, Rise ‘n’ Shine Café or Crows Nest, are encouraged to drop in spare change and support this worthy charity. Another way to contribute is by attending fundraisers held by the Elks, like the one held recently at Caruso’s where 25% of the proceeds from meals ordered went to the Purple Pig program.
Another fundraising project, which the Elks is passionate about, is feeding needy families. This year, the Sunland-Tujunga Elks Lodge donated $1,300 to the Pasture Program, administered by Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. This program, which is held on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., feeds 60 to 100 needy families in the community in the lower parking lot of the church at 7315 Apperson St. in Tujunga. Lodge #2098 also collects canned goods at its Commerce Avenue lodge, which it donates to this program.
One of the programs the Elks Lodge is best known for is its monthly visit to the Veterans Administration Ambulatory Care Center on Plummer Avenue in North Hills.
Said Bouchard, “We bring hot dogs and sandwiches to wounded veterans at Building 99 and hold bingo and horse racing games that many veterans really look forward to as they have the opportunity to win money and prizes.”
He added, “It’s also a form of rehabilitation because it gets them to engage with others.”
Elks Lodge #2098 has been holding monthly programs for veterans for over 30 years, including a huge Fourth of July barbecue at the VA with food and games for 400 people.
Anyone who would like to support the Elks can attend the Omelet Bar breakfast, which is held the third Sunday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon for a donation of $10. The public is also welcome to attend Lodge #2098’s Friday night dinners every second and fourth Friday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 1037 Commerce Ave., Tujunga. The cost for the dinner is $10 per person.
For more information, contact Earl Bouchard at (818) 439-6980 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Elks programs, go to https://chea-elks.org.
By Pat KRAMER