ESCANABA - The Elks National Foundation has approved a $1,000 grant to the Escanaba Elks to use toward a homeless dinner to be held on Wednesday, June 5, from 5-7 p.m. The Elks are teaming up with Gladstone Boy Scout Troop 466 and the Escanaba Salvation Army to serve the dinner for the homeless of Delta County.
Homelessness continues to be a problem across the state of Michigan; just last year more than 94,000 Michigan residents were homeless. In Delta County homelessness has also been a major issue.
The Salvation Army is the first point of contact for those with a housing crisis locally, according to the Salvation Army in Escanaba. Salvation Army numbers indicate from January to October 2012, there were 385 unduplicated homeless people in need of shelter in Delta County. Of this number, 108 homeless were children. However, the Salvation Army estimates the 385 people accounts for only 40 percent of the population in Delta County, and there are likely many more whose homeless status is unknown.
Funding comes from the Elks National Foundation Community Investments Program.
"The Elks have a good working relationship with the Gladstone Boy Scouts and Salvation Army and have a great reputation for making the community a better place to live in," said Elks member, John Pickard. "There will be more community awareness and involvement regarding homelessness in the future than there has been in the past."
According to Pickard, the Escanaba Elks believe that "It has to be just more than the people who serve them, because as a community we all serve them."
Anyone who would like to help in this summer event by helping to set up or serve the dinner can call Nisha Coolman at (906) 281-3440 at the Salvation Army or John Pickard at 428-1920.