The Elks Lodge of Liberty is collecting donations of items for children and young mothers in need. Two simultaneous drives are underway to collect diapers, wipes and baby items for infants, toddlers and young mothers, and hygiene items and clothing for older children.
According to Jennifer Regen, an Elks Lodge spokesperson, the drives also will be boosted by grants the local lodge received from the national Elks Lodge organization.
“About two weeks ago, the Liberty Elks Lodge was approved for two grants. The way the Elks Lodge works is that you have to use the funding within a short time frame. Since the Elks are very community based, the grants are meant to help our communities. A lot of the assistance we normally provide is for special-needs children and adults, and veterans. These particular grants we received were opened up beyond our normal groups, so the focus this time will be on helping children and pregnant or new mothers,” Regen said.
One of the two grants called a $2,500 Spotlight Grant will be directed toward the Liberty County Children’s Protective Services’ Rainbow Room, which provides foster children with the basic clothing, diapers, school supplies and hygiene items they need after they are removed from their homes and placed in foster care.
“We are using some of the grant money to buy duffle bags that can be packed with items for the children to use when they are removed from their homes,” Regen said. “We are hoping to donate at least 100 bags to the Rainbow Room. Everyone around Christmas time always donates toys, but we want to think beyond that about things they might need year-round.”
The second grant is a $3,500 Beacon Grant and will be used to provide items to young mothers, toddlers and infants. Originally, the Liberty Elks Lodge had planned to direct this funding toward the Pregnancy Center in Dayton but that organization is no longer in operation. As a result, the Elks are working with the Texas State Department of Health Services to provide items to mothers receiving assistance through the Women, Infants and Children program. They also hope to connect with other young mothers in need by identifying them with the help of local schools and organizations.
“The hope is to lessen the burden on some of these young mothers. We want to help as many parents as possible either with items they can use during their pregnancy or once the baby is here,” Regen said.
Some of the suggested items for the Rainbow Room drive are hygiene items like shampoos, soaps, nail clippers, cleaning supplies, socks, pajamas and underwear. As the impacted children range in age from birth to late teens, this leaves it open to a wide range of items. No used clothing or items will be accepted.
For the pregnancy and young children drive, the Elks are hoping to receive donations of baby wipes, diapers, baby wash, diaper ointment and other items needed to care for a child in the first years of life.
The drives will go on through Feb. 28 with drop-offs available daily Monday through Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m. The Elks Lodge is located on FM 563, just a couple miles south of US 90 in Liberty. The Lodge is located just south of the Trinity Valley Exposition fairgrounds.
For questions, call Regen at 713-540-3708.