Elks Bolster Food Pantry Amid Mounting Demand

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Every year in June, a fundraiser for the Benton County Food Pantry begins with a Channel Hop/Poker Run that provides a lot of fun and at the same time it raises money needed to help feed Benton County residents. This year’s Annual Channel Hop was held June 27 and sponsored by the Benton County Elk’s Lodge 2783. Hosts and organizers for the event on water were Jim and Dianne Kolb, owners of BuckNaked Restaurant, Bar & Marina. 
“We would like to thank everyone that sponsored and participated in the Annual Channel Hop/Poker Run,” said the Kolbs. “It was a great day by land and water. A $100 donation was made by Val Konieczny, owner of Surfside Bay Bar & Grill, and a $10 additional donation was made by a poker run participant. 186 tickets were sold bringing the total amount to $1,505.00 raised for the Food Pantry. We could not have done it without the sponsoring establishments: Rick’s Oar House, Cardinal Cove Restaurant, Holiday Hills, Fattie’s, Moonies, The Wet Spot & Surfside Bay Bar & Grill (Ivy Bend).”
First place Poker Hand winner was Jerry Beck with Four of a Kind – “A.” Second place winner was Helen Blomquist with Four of a Kind – “2.” Third place winner was Donald Williams with a Full House “Q/8.” Last place was a tie for the Worst Hand. These two contestants were Kathy Rothwell and Dawn Francis.
Chuck Allcorn, an Elk Lodge member and Vice President of the Food Pantry, said the Pantry fundraiser ended Tuesday, September 15, after many more donations, raising a total of $3,420 during the summer months. Containers for canned goods that were placed around the area were picked up on September 15, weighing in at 1,041 pounds, equal to a value of $1,853. Thus, with the food dollars added to the previously raised funds, a total of $5,273 was raised for the Food Pantry to help it keep its shelves stocked during the “fourth quarter” of the year. Funds were first given to the Food Pantry two weeks after the Channel Hop/Poker Run to use in its general budget, and purchase what was needed. Allcorn said that the Elks have also purchased 2,500 pounds of protein for the Pantry from Springfield Grocers. 
“This was a great result for a fundraiser during a pandemic,” said Allcorn. “The Pantry operates on $60,000 to $70,000 per year with about 40 percent coming from the county, and the rest in donations. Donors to the food drive are able to get a 50 cent credit returned for every dollar donated to the Food Pantry.”