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Diana Wilson

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Events > 2017 Events > OC Rescue Mission 2017

Party in the Park at OC Rescue Mission

Elks Lodge rolls out a Carnival at the Orange County Rescue Mission

By: Derek Randles PER, Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley Elks ENF Chairman and Orange Coast District 960 Grant Coordinator. Photos by Mike Klinger
August 26, 2017

This year marked the fourth year sponsoring a Party in the Park at the Orange County Rescue Mission. The 250 residents, including around 100 children of the Mission enjoyed outdoor games, a super bounce house/maze, duck pond, and puppies while the Mission Viejo Saddleback Valley Elks members and friends served them cotton candy, sno-cones, and hot dogs and burgers for lunch. This was another special day for the Elks to give back to this community – a community of really good people trying to get back out into the working community to make a difference for themselves and others. The Rescue Mission is a faith based program for the homeless where many of the residents will spend between two and three years. The Mission offers education and GED programs along with vocational training to the residents to assist them with job placement and steady income.

This year the Elks members and friends ran game booths, painted faces and helped with crafts for not only the children but many of the moms and dads. The bounce house was completely filled with kids the entire duration of the party. The Mission’s Community Engagement Partner Nancy Palmer assisted Elks National Foundation and District Chairman Derek Randles with the setup of the event and assured there were plenty of kids coming through all day. Elks Chaplain Lane Keran led the assembled residents in an invocation prior to Elks Members serving the 250 hungry parents and kids hot dogs and hamburgers. "One resident commented that they rarely get burgers and dogs and asked if we could come back next weekend," said past Lodge president Charlie Hart. Hart went on to say, "This is my fourth year coming to the Mission and I wouldn't miss it. I'm not sure who has more fun, the kids or us." Elks House Committee Chairperson Stephanie Bongartz assured that no kid went without lots of toys and candy as prizes for playing the games. Kids and parents alike could be seen walking around with foot high mounds of cotton candy along with handfuls of tootsie rolls and sugar sticks.

Many of the children have never had new clothing, as the Rescue Mission receives donations from the community and passes them down to the residents at the Mission. Part of the Elks support for this Mission included new clothing in multiple sizes for the children along with boxes of new school supplies to get them ready for the upcoming school year. The Mission relies on donations from the local community whether they be clothing, furniture, or food donations – all are greatly appreciated.

The Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley Elks utilized a Promise Grant from Elks National Foundation (ENF) to help pay for this event. Events and support of local charities throughout the year are made possible through Elks member donations as well as grants from the ENF. Elks really do care, Elks really do share. Local Lodge members working at the event were: Lodge President Michael Long, ENF Chairman Derek Randles, Jack & Sandy Jacobs, Charlie Hart, Stephanie Bongartz, Andy & Mary Ann Costello, Gail Patti, Steve Cagnacci & Barbara Coppola, Lia Faase, Lane Keran, Mike Klinger, Sandie McClure, Julie Thomas, Diana Wilson, Rhonda & Brad Pelloni, Alejandra Payne, Tim & Thad Gielow, Jeffrey Bellis, Laura McCarty, and Steve Short.