FULTON – With the holidays quickly approaching, some organizations in the city of Fulton are preparing to help their neighbors in need by providing food and gift baskets.
The Fulton Elks Lodge will put together between 40 and 45 Christmas baskets, including food for a Christmas dinner, nonperishable goods, milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, toiletries and other household items a community member might need this season. They also give toys to the families with children receiving the baskets.
Dawn Gibbs, Elks Lodge bar steward, said this program has been going on for about 15 years, and each season they are able to provide more baskets for families, veterans and those with disabilities.
The organization raises money throughout the year through member donations, a swear jar, basket raffles and 50/50 raffles.
“We put a lot of work into it all year long,” Gibbs said. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s gratifying when you’re done with it.”
Each basket is about $75 before a turkey or ham is added. Larger families get both a turkey and a ham. This year, the organization received a grant for $2,500 to help with the cost. In the past they have done between 20 and 30 baskets, but were able to help more families within the community, extending beyond Fulton.
Local businesses are helping out this season as well. Gibbs said Huhtamaki is donating boxes for the items to be placed in.
“We want to get the community involved in it also,” Gibbs said.
The Elks Lodge reached out to Fulton YMCA, Catholic Charities and the Department of Social Services to see if they knew of any families who could use a little extra help this year.
“Anybody in our community that is down and out, we want to help them; that’s our job,” Gibbs said.
The organization will begin putting the baskets together on Monday. Although the applications have already been completed for this year, community members can make a donation toward these baskets by calling Gibbs at the lodge (315-598-4363).
The Elks Lodge also did a Breakfast with Santa for community members with disabilities, which they do each year. Another way the organization gives back to the Fulton community is by partnering with the funeral homes and providing their hall for free if a family cannot afford a gathering after they lost someone.
Other programs through various organizations in Fulton will be available this holiday season and are listed below. If you know of a program that is not on this list, let us know by emailing [email protected] and we will add it.
- Winter Coat/Hat/Mitten Drive: Dec. 2 to Dec. 30 at the Fulton Public Library.
- Operation Kindness, free toy store: Saturday, Dec. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the community room at the Fulton Municipal Building. To register email [email protected] with the number of children you are shopping for. Each shopper may take two gently used or new toys for each child. There will be free raffles for anyone attending after the store closes.
- The Salvation Army (62 S. First St.) has a soup kitchen that is open every Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Also at this location is the food pantry, which is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Other food pantries in Fulton include:
- First United Methodist Church Food Pantry – 1408 State Route 176, Fulton. 315-592-7347. Open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Dexterville Community Services (DACS) – 9 Rathburn Rd., Fulton.315-593-1607.Open Monday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., by appointment only
- Fulton Alliance Church Food Pantry – 1044 State Route 48, Fulton. 315-593-6842. Call when in need.
- Oswego County Catholic Charities Food Pantry – 808 West Broadway, Fulton. 315-598-3980. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.