Elks Visit House of Hope

By Derek Randles PER

Hello Friends, this past Sunday December 2nd we had our 5th annual Christmas Decorating Party at the Orange County Rescue Mission House of Hope for single women with children. There were 20 ladies and 19 children at the facility this year. When our Elks Helpers arrived, we were there in time for pizza with the families. After filling our bellies, we helped the little ones – and some of the bigger ones – hang the ornaments on the 14 foot tall tree. Derek Randles PER and Michael Long PER held the ladders while the kids made it a contest who could go the highest on the ladder and get to the very top of the tree. Leading Knight Jamie Camunas and Chaplain Cindy Wooten helped the kids pick out the right ornament for the tree decorating. Dennis Lumley took the pictures of the event and families while Laura Lumley, Vicky Long, and Orange Elk Stacy Emery printed all of the pictures and put them into Christmas frames to provide them to the families. During the tree decorating, we heard strange noises on the roof. Derek and Stacy ran in with the exciting news that SANTA has arrived. Elks member Pamela Mackey and her husband Ed provided the Santa and Mrs. Claus holiday cheer all while the children followed Santa around the house asking very interesting questions. Followed by many hugs, the Claus’s sat down to listen to every child and provide with one toy or fun item that night.


The evening wrapped up with us finishing the printing of all of the pictures. Stephanie Bongartz and Derek Randles PER started this program five years ago assisting these families with assistance during the holidays. The Elks will be providing a 5 foot tall stocking to every mother and child prior to Christmas that will include both gifts and gas/food gift cards that are also needed for necessities. The Mission Viejo Elks Charitable Committee in conjunction with the Elks National Foundation (ENF) Gratitude Grant provided the funding for this event.