Wareham/New Bedford Elks dole out donations

By Matthew Bernat | Nov 02, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Elk Jay Wybraniac packs items that will be sent to troops stationed in Afghanistan. Items were collected over the course of five weeks during the lodge's weekly meat raffle.

Four organizations, one Boy Scout and troops stationed in Afghanistan all received donations from the Wareham/New Bedford Lodge of Elks #73 on Thursday night.

Held before the lodge’s weekly meat raffle, which serves as the group’s main fundraiser, the brief donation ceremonies showcased the Elks’ generous spirit.

Over the past five weeks, members collected snacks, toiletries and other items from raffle attendees. Those items are now bound for troops stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, including Jonas Amaral of Middleboro.

Amaral’s cousin, Jay Wybraniac, is the Elk who launched the drive. Amaral had mentioned to his cousin that his fellow troops were in need of lip balm. Wybraniac, an Army veteran himself, said he decided to put the call out for that item and more.

“I know how it can out there for troops,” said Wybraniac. “It might seem small to us, but little things like lip balm can make a difference.”

In total, the drive netted 1,129 items, including toothpaste, deodorant, candy and more, said Mike Ward, Chair of the Elks Veterans Committee.

Additionally, the Elks handed out a total of $2,150 in donations to four New Bedford-based groups – the Boys & Girls Club, Child & Family Services, Inc., PACE, Inc. the Women’s Crisis Center – and Avery Gilbert, a Life Scout with Plymouth Troop 151.

Gilbert received $1,200 to pay for materials used for his Eagle Scout project. Gilbert crafted from scratch two steel gates for Black Feather Horse Rescue, based in Plymouth.

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford/Wareham chapter received $500 that will be used to purchase equipment and arts and crafts supplies, said Unit Director Kenneth Fontes.

The remaining groups all received donations of $150.

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